Comments on FAR Buy American Rule Changes

The second major change to Buy American rules within the past year, released in July 2021, specifically addresses Section 8 of President Biden’s subsequent Executive Order on Ensuring the Future Is Made in All of America by All of America’s Workers by amending the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) to further alter implementation of the Buy American Act.

The proposed rule responds to directives in Section 8 of the executive order, specifically to “increase the numerical threshold for domestic content requirements for end products and construction materials” and “increase the price preferences for domestic end products and domestic construction materials.” However, in this rulemaking, the FAR Council declined to address Section 8’s call to replace the “component test” in Part 25 of the FAR with a “value-added” type calculation, where, instead of components, domestic content would be measured by “the value that is added to the product through U.S.-based production or U.S. job-supporting economic activity.”

On Oct. 27, 2021, the Security Industry Association (SIA) submitted comments in response to the FAR Council’s proposed rule. In the comments, SIA expressed support for the aim of the executive order and proposed policies to maximize use by the federal government of available products and materials produced in the United States but expressed concern about aspects of the changes made and contemplated under the rule that could harm, versus strengthen, U.S. manufacturing of key products used in the security industry.