"Buy American" Primer

South Carolina Bar's Construction Law Section News & Notes


As you review the requirements in the latest federal or federally funded request for proposals and begin to formulate your bidding strategy, you pause and think, “what is the requirement of the Buy America Act, again?", "is it the Buy American Act?", "can I use foreign construction materials or do they have to be domestic?", or "how do I determine if something is a domestic product, anyway?” These and dozens of other questions relating to the complicated and confusing nature of the restrictions for using foreign steel, iron and manufactured products cause you consternation leading up to your bid submission. Rest assured that you are not the only one tossing and turning; these statutes and regulations are very confusing with common issues overlapping different rules and varying definitions for identical terms. It takes a lot of effort to make sense out of these issues. Yet, while "the rules of the Buy American game" are hard to discern, they also provide "an opportunity for the clever contractor." 2 No. 7 Nash & Cibinic Rep. ¶ 39. This article is designed to help put you on the path to being a "clever contractor."

Reprinted with permission from the South Carolina Bar's Construction Law Section, Winter 2011.