Many of you have been asking us about the Buy American Act (BAA), whether our rigging products are made in America, and if they comply with BAA requirements. Did you know that, unless an exception applies, the BAA requires domestic manufacturing of an end product and that more than half the cost of its components be derived from U.S. made components? Canadian-made products may not be a BAA-governed purchase.
Columbus McKinnon offers a full complement of made in America rigging and hoist products that comply with the Buy American Act.
What is the Buy American Act?
The BAA dates back to 1933 and, absent an exception, generally requires in covered procurements the furnishing of domestic end products for supplies or construction material. Some of the limited exceptions to the BAA’s requirements include the Government’s grant of a public interest waiver or the non-availability of (or unreasonable pricing of) viable domestic sources.
Other Buy American/Buy America Regimes
If your project is funded by the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act (ARRA), a similar, but not identical, domestic sourcing requirement applies.
In 2009, with the intent of stimulating and reinvigorating the U.S. economy with new projects designed to put Americans back to work, Congress included a similar “Buy American” requirement in the ARRA—Section 1605. Similar to its 1933 predecessor, unless a narrow exception applies, Section 1605 provides that no ARRA funds may be used for a project for the construction, alteration, maintenance, or repair of a public building or public work in the U.S. unless all iron, steel and manufactured goods used as construction material in the project are produced or manufactured in the United States.
The BAA and the ARRA’s Section 1605 do not, however, stand alone. For instance, projects funded by sub-agencies of the U.S. Department of Transportation (DoT) impose other unique “Buy American” or “Buy America” requirements to projects they fund. DoT components imposing such unique requirements include the Federal Aviation Administration (“FAA”), Federal Highway Administration (“FHWA”), Federal Railroad Administration (“FRA”) High Speed Rail Program, National Railroad Passenger Corporation (“AMTRAK”), and the Federal Transit Administration (“FTA”).
Why Compliance Matters and Why We Have Seen An Upsurge in Inquiries In This Area?
Compliance with the BAA and other domestic preference regimes is critical. They typically are part of a contract, so non-compliance can result in a price reduction or default termination. However, contract liability is not the only risk factor. Because compliance typically is certified by contractors, an inaccuracy in the certification can lead to other civil, administrative, or even criminal action, such as the initiation of suspension/debarment, False Claims Act, or False Statements Act proceedings. The bottom-line is that it is essential that companies supplying end products to the Government get it right.
In recent years, there has been a clear trend of Government contracting personnel and auditors focusing upon and testing contractor compliance with the BAA, TAA, and other applicable regimes. With respect to the ARRA in particular, the statute included significant funds for audits relating to its many requirements, including Section 1605’s Buy American requirement. Auditors are circulating in large numbers to make sure that companies are complying.
There are many statutes that govern these federally funded projects. For those requiring the manufacture of end products in the U.S. and/or domestic components, you need to know that the products you purchase are of US origin. Columbus McKinnon’s products for government contracts are manufactured in the United States. These rigging and hoist products comply with the BAA and the ARRA’s Section 1605. Make your life easier by partnering with Columbus McKinnon, and support American manufacturing in the process.
** The above is not intended to constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as same. Readers should seek independent legal counsel if they have questions related to BAA compliance or compliance with other domestic preference-type regimes.