Domestic Content Restricitons: The Buy American Act and Complementary Provisions of Federal Law [September 12, 2016]   [open pdf - 858KB]

"Broadly understood, domestic content restrictions are provisions which require that items purchased using specific funds appropriated or otherwise made available by Congress be produced or manufactured in the United States. Federal law contains a number of such restrictions, each of which applies to different entities and supplies, and imposes somewhat different requirements. Some of these restrictions have, however, been waived pursuant to the Trade Agreements Act (TAA). The Buy American Act of 1933 is the earliest and arguably the best known of the major domestic content restrictions. It generally requires federal agencies to purchase 'domestic end products' and use 'domestic construction materials' on contracts exceeding the micro-purchase threshold (typically $3,500) performed in the United States. Unmanufactured end products or construction materials qualify as 'domestic' if they are mined or produced in the United States. Manufactured ones are treated as 'domestic' if they are manufactured in the United States, and either (1) the cost of components mined, produced, or manufactured in the United States exceeds 50% of the cost of all components, or (2) the items are commercially available off-the-shelf items. Agencies may, however, purchase 'foreign' supplies in exceptional circumstances (purchase of domestic goods or use of domestic construction materials would be 'impracticable')."

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CRS Report for Congress, R43354
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