Trade Agreements Act Enforcement Loses a Couple More Teeth
Two recent judicial decisions involving the Trade Agreements Act (“TAA”) build on a trend reflecting a more favorable enforcement climate for contractors grappling with domestic preference regimes. Earlier this year, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia dismissed a qui tam action that alleged fraud in connection with country of origin requirements imposed by the TAA in United States ex rel. Folliard v. Comstor Corp. The decision marked a welcome early defeat of a False Claims Act case based on the enhanced materiality and scienter requirements of the Escobar decision.
Two federal court decisions appear to extend the trend of taking some of the bite out of TAA enforcement, and potential exposure for alleged noncompliance. Despite this welcome news, domestic preference programs remain a key legal obligation for government contractors (and an area likely to remain under scrutiny with the Administration’s professed focus on Buy American and Hire American initiatives).
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“Trade Agreements Act Enforcement Loses a Couple More Teeth,” by Merle M. DeLancey Jr. was published in the December 2018 edition of Pratt’s Government Contracting Law Report (Vol. 4, No. 12), an A.S. Pratt Publication, LexisNexis. Reprinted with permission.
This article was first published in Blank Rome’s Government Contracts Navigator blog.