Lipinski Leads Bipartisan Effort to Permit "Buy American" Rules in NAFTA Renegotiation (June 27, 2017)

Congressman Dan Lipinski (IL-3) has been joined by lawmakers from both sides of the aisle in a call for a strong “Buy American” component in the ongoing renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).  Lipinski and his colleagues are asking the Administration to prioritize making “Buy American” laws permissible under NAFTA. 

“Laws that boost strong domestic content government procurement policies ensure that hard-working Americans’ tax dollars are spent on products that are made in the United States and stimulate local economies,” Rep. Lipinski and his peers stated in a bipartisan letter to United States Trade Representative Ambassador Robert Lighthizer.  “It is vital that our trade agreements are negotiated to allow domestic content preferences.  Strong ‘Buy American’ laws support manufacturing jobs, decrease the trade deficit, and support the Administration’s ‘Buy American, Hire American’ initiative.”

The current language of NAFTA forces the federal government to consider bids from Mexico and Canada when making procurement decisions and prevents the full application of “Buy American” laws.  Specifically, Chapter Ten of NAFTA currently requires all NAFTA countries to give non-discriminatory national treatment to firms in the other signatory countries.  These international firms are required to be held at the same preference as domestic firms.  Although “Buy American” statutes require the federal government to give preference to American made products, NAFTA makes full compliance with this law impossible and prevents the federal government from bolstering domestic manufacturing.

“With NAFTA renegotiation priorities currently being debated, we ask that the Administration support ‘Buy American’ laws in its negotiation objectives and throughout the renegotiation process,” continued Lipinski and his colleagues in their letter.  “This will enable the federal government to spend tax dollars to support American jobs and manufacturing, and help revitalize the middle class.”