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How Trump's 'Buy American' Order Could Play Out

When President Donald Trump signed an executive order Tuesday in Kenosha, Wisconsin, he sent a characteristically blunt message.


So What's the White House's Complaint?

Government contracting "is a highly complex area, with lots of exceptions and exceptions to exceptions," says Stephanie Harden, a lawyer specializing in government contracts at Blank Rome LLP. Government agencies can bypass U.S. suppliers, for example, whose bids come in too high or if the required goods and services aren't available domestically. Under several free-trade deals—including the World Trade Organization's Agreement on Government Procurement—contractors from 59 countries have the right to be treated the same as U.S. companies when it comes to many federal contracts.


What's Next?

Not clear. Harden, anticipating a possible crackdown on how contracts are awarded, is telling clients to make doubly sure that they are complying with Buy American requirements.

But some analysts note that Trump has already retreated from some earlier vows to toughen America's trade policies and say they suspect that the Buy American order might not amount to much.

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"How Trump's 'Buy American' Order Could Play Out," by Paul Wiseman was originally published in the Associated Press on April 19, 2017. 

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