On April 18, 2017, President Donald Trump signed into effect the “Buy American, Hire American” Executive Order. The White House explained in an accompanying news release that the President issued the executive order at least partly in response to a February 2017 Government Accountability Office (GAO) draft report highlighting the need for more pro-American trade policies.
The draft GAO report suggested that “the United States is not getting its fair share of the global government procurement market” through the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) Agreement on Government Procurement. The draft report further argued that American companies “routinely abuse the H-1B visa program by replacing American workers with lower-paid foreign workers.”
What the New Executive Order Will Do
President Trump, at the executive order’s signing ceremony, observed that existing Federal “Buy American, Hire American” statutes had been gutted by loopholes. In response, the President promised to “aggressively promote and use American-made goods.”
The “Buy American” portions of the executive order will:
- Instruct Federal agencies to perform a comprehensive assessment of their procurement policies.
- Target for re-evaluation exceptions and waivers that give foreign providers of goods and services advantages in the Federal government’s procurement process.
- Require an in-depth review of the WTO’s Agreement on Government Procurement and other similar accords to make sure they comply with the executive order’s new standards.
- Require a “Buy American” auction process in order to reduce the prevalence of unfair trade processes.
- In particular, promote American-made steel.
The “Hire American” portions of the executive order will:
- Enforce laws governing the entry of foreign workers into the United States so as to promote job creation and higher wages for U.S. workers.
- Direct government agencies to implement reforms of the H-1B visa program that are more consistent with the standards of the new executive order.