Buy America/Buy American, a Primer For Contractors

Soldier standing in front of american flag

Trump has strengthened domestic preferences through the Buy America and Buy American Acts.

March 23, 2020
John P. Ahlers - Ahlers Cressman & Sleight PLLC

President Trump has promoted his campaign agenda—bringing manufacturing jobs back to the United States (especially jobs relating or pertaining to the steel industry.) To do this, he has strengthened domestic preferences through the Buy America and Buy American Acts.[1]

1. Buy America Act:

The Buy America Act refers to a collection of domestic contract restrictions pertaining to the U.S. Department of Transportation/Federal Highway Administration projects (highway, mass transit and other transportation projects). The USDOT grants provided to state and local governments prohibit the federal government from obligating funds unless the steel, iron and manufactured products used in the projects are produced in the U.S. Generally, Buy America applies to projects where USDOT provides part of the funding, applies to steel, iron and manufactured products, and requires that “all manufacturing processes, including application of a coating, for these materials…occur in the United States.”

  • Buy American:

    Buy American is critical for construction contractors because FAR 52.225-9 requires that all federal construction contracts under approximately $7 million[2] contain a clause which mandates that contractors use “only domestic construction material in performing [the] contract.” [Note: This requirement is not limited to steel and steel products, as the Buy America Act is.]

Mr. Ahlers may be contacted at


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