WWEMA Opposes 'Buy American' Condition in Jobs Bill

In a letter to lawmakers dated Dec. 16, the Water and Wastewater Equipment Manufacturers Association along with 27 other business groups expressed their opposition to a "Buy American" provision in job growth legislation.

The letter points out that:

  • the United States already imposes significant “Buy American” requirements at the federal level, in accordance with the multilateral Government Procurement Agreement.
  • more restrictive “Buy American” provisions, such as those included in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, will significantly delay the implementation of job-creating projects and diminish competition and efficiency in the contracting process, with a resultant lowering in the quality and cost-effectiveness of infrastructure improvements.
  • the market depends on incorporating numerous specialized pieces of equipment, a significant portion of which is produced through international production and supply chains with trade agreement partners from whom the federal government can procure, but which new “Buy American” provisions would prevent local governments from using.

"According to the U.S. EPA, as of Nov. 11, 2009, only $1.3 billion of the $6 billion in ARRA funds for the drinking water and wastewater State Revolving Fund programs has been committed, which is largely due to delays, concerns and confusion relating to “Buy American” rules," the letter says. "Despite the waiver process, the end result of these 'Buy American' provisions has been to slow local governments’ ability to fund and start 'shovel ready' projects. This is stunting job creation in the $120 billion water sector as well as other huge sectors of the U.S. economy where ARRA funding was provided."

The letter also says that a U.S. Chamber of Commerce study released in September found the cost of “Buy American rules in ARRA is substantial, especially as other countries implement mirroring 'buy national' policies of their own. If foreign governments lock U.S. companies out of just 1 percent of their own stimulus spending, the net U.S. job loss could surpass 170,000."

The organizations listed at the end of the letter are: Advanced Medical Technology Association, Aerospace Industries Association, American Business Conference, American Council of Engineering Companies, Associated Builders and Contractors, Association of Equipment Manufacturers, The Associated General Contractors of America, Business Roundtable;

California Chamber of Commerce, Clean Water Construction Coalition, Coalition of Service Industries, Computer & Communications Industry Association, Computing Technology Industry Association, Consuming Industries Trade Action Coalition, Emergency Committee for American Trade, European-American Business Council;

Information Technology Industry Council, National Association of Foreign Trade Zones, National Association of Manufacturers, National Association of Pipe Fabricators, National Foreign Trade Council, Organization for International Investment, Retail Industry Leaders Association, Semiconductor Industry Association, TechAmerica, United States Council for International Business, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and Water and Wastewater Equipment Manufacturers Association.

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