President Trump signed an executive order Thursday to expand his “Buy American” initiative by urging agencies to ensure loans provided for new programs are used on American-manufactured products.
This is the second “Buy American” executive order the president has signed and is meant to cover situations where agencies may provide indirect support through federal financial assistance such as infrastructure projects, which was not previously included in the initial April 2017 directive.
“What we have here today is a new executive order designed to potentially close those gaps in coverage,” Peter Navarro, assistant to the president for trade and manufacturing policy, told reporters. “This EO basically makes clear that we extend the coverage for Buy American not just to things like iron, and steel, and aluminum, but also to cement and other manufactured products.”
The directive does not include enforcement mechanisms or penalties for purchasing non-American manufactured goods, and Navarro described it as more of a broad push.
“[We] encourage recipients of new federal financial assistance awards to use, to the greatest extent practical, iron, steel, aluminum, cement, and other manufactured products produced in the United States in every contract, sub-contract, purchase order, or sub-award that is chargeable against such federal financial assistance award,” the president wrote in the executive order.
Trump during his remarks while signing the new order said federal agencies are now spending an additional $24 billion on American-manufactured goods as a result of the “Buy American” initiative.
“Federal spending on foreign goods is now the lowest it’s been in more than 10 years, and it’s going down very substantially. And, by the way, we don’t get treated great by many countries in terms of our trade deals, and that’s changing rapidly. But we are now looking out a little bit for ourselves and it’s about time,” Trump said.
Navarro said the administration’s emphasis on “Buy American” is intended to help the defense industrial base in particular.
“These Buy American programs strengthen our manufacturing and defense industrial base by strengthening directly the manufacturing sector, but also pillar industries like steel and aluminum,”Navarro said.
Navarro added he expects new investments in the steel industry to continue with prices expected to moderate and begin to lower within the coming months.