Buy American Act & Trade Agreement Act

Government contracts for the purchase of goods and products commonly require certification that the contractor’s products comply with the Buy American Act (BAA) or Trade Agreements Act (TAA). This certification is a frequent challenge of rivals in bid protests before the GAO. Suddenly discovering a central product is illegible for sale to the government can be devastating for many contractors. Center trains compliance to the acts, advises on specific solicitation certifications, and advocates for proper interpretation of the statutes for our many clients selling to the federal government.

Our areas of expertise include:
  • Buy American Act ‘domestic end product’ compliance
  • Trade Agreements Act ‘U.S. made end product’ compliance
  • Trade Agreements Act and GSA Schedules
  • VA Schedule Program product compliance
  • ‘Substantially transformed’ products counseling
  • ‘Country of origin’ determinations

Buy American Act & Trade Agreements Act FAQs

The Buy American Act, 41 U.S.C. § 10 et seq. is Congressional legislation from the Great Depression Era which established a general preference for the acquisition of materials manufactured in the United States when the materials are being procured by the U.S. Government for public use in the United States. This law offers several complex exemptions.

The TAA implements U.S. commitments under international agreements on Government procurement. It grants the U.S. government broad discretion to waive Buy American Act restrictions for designated countries that have executed trade agreements. 19 U.S.C. § 2511; FAR § 25.400. In order to encourage other countries to enter into trade agreements, the TAA prohibits the procurement of products from non-designated countries, unless the product at issue has been substantially transformed in the U.S. or in a designated country. 19 U.S.C. § 2512, FAR Clause 52.225-5(b);  Hung Myung (USA) Ltd.; Containertechnik Hamburg GmbH & Co.  B-244686, Nov. 7, 1991, 91-2 CPD ¶ 434.

Congress has legislated that the U.S. Government may only procure U.S.-made or designated country end-products or services. This means that products and or services that are end-products or services of countries other than the United States, or identified designated countries, will not be considered for an award. See 19 U.S.C. §2501, Trade Agreements Act, as amended, for more details.

The U.S. Government has various contractual and administrative remedies for non-compliant contractors with the Buy American Act and Trade Agreements Act requirements. They include monetary damages, termination for default, debarment, or suspension. Additional remedies may apply.

Both Acts are notoriously difficult to interpret for individual products and are highly fact specific. If you are certifying a product to be compliant with these Acts it is often necessary for outside analysis. Feel free to give us a call for a free telephonic consultation at +1561-279-2855

The BAA aims to encourage government spending for American products, where the TAA expands to allow products from several other countries the U.S. government has a trade agreement with. The two acts are very similar but are triggered by different requirements and with different exceptions.  This Chart  will help determine which act you will need to comply with and the basic requirements for your product.