Trump Seeks Further ‘Buy-American’ Steel Boost

July 17, 2019
President Trump makes a point during a speech.

President Trump signed an executive order on July 15 that mandates a greater use of U.S.-made steel and iron in federal infrastructure projects. The order would reinforce the administration’s “Buy American” preferences, and require that 95 percent of steel and iron used in federal contracts be American-made. 

ENR reports that Trump’s directive, however, won’t affect federal-aid highway work, which is covered by a different preference requirement called Buy America. 

According to the article, a major part of the executive order would expand the definition of “foreign content” for iron and steel end-products, setting the threshold at 5 percent of their total cost. This compares with a current foreign-content minimum of 50 percent.

For non-steel and iron products, Trump is setting the foreigen-content level at 45 percent compared with the current 50 percent. 

The article reports:

To boost the use of U.S. materials prices, the directive recommends that agencies add 20 percent to material prices in a competing bid that uses foreign-sourced materials. For a bid from a small firm that uses foreign materials, 30 percent would be added to the materials’ prices. These percentages are much higher than the current 6 percent, or with small bid amounts, 10 percent.

In addition, the executive order seeks to “change the formula for a federal agency to determine whether a company’s contract bid price that uses U.S.-origin materials is unreasonable or inconsistent with the public interest.”

According to ENR, the American Iron and Steel Institute welcomed the executive order. 

Source: The Washington Post & ENR