The Trans-Pacific Partnership: Gutting Buy American
From the workers who manufacture the materials to upgrade America's bridges and highways to those who build the cars driven by our government officials, Buy American creates U.S. jobs by recycling U.S. tax dollars back into our economy. Buy American policies require that most federal government purchases of goods go to American firms, unless a product is not made here or the U.S. product is much more expensive. Buy American is supported by four out of five U.S. voters – Republicans, Democrats and independents alike.
But Buy American is under attack by our status quo, corporate-driven trade model. In many U.S. trade agreements — the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) Agreement on Government Procurement, which covers the U.S. and 39 other countries, and in free trade agreements that the U.S. has with 15 countries — governments are forbidden from giving preference to domestic goods and services or domestic firms in awarding procurement contracts over a certain threshold for covered sectors. Each time a new trade pact is passed that includes the ban on Buy American preferences, the involved countries are added to the waiver list to be treated the same as U.S. companies for government procurement. This means more and more competition for U.S. workers, fewer jobs and lower wages.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) would have further gutted Buy American and cost American jobs under rules requiring “national treatment” in government procurement. To implement this TPP requirement, the United States would have agreed to waive “Buy American” procurement policies for all firms operating in TPP countries, offshoring our tax dollars to create jobs abroad. Some corporate TPP proponents argued that these rules would be good for the United States because they would have allowed U.S. firms to bid on procurement contracts in TPP countries on equal footing. The notion that this is a good trade-off for waiving Buy American preferences on U.S. procurement is ridiculous. The U.S. federal procurement market is larger than the combined national procurement markets of all other TPP negotiating parties. Even more, U.S. firms already have equal procurement access in most TPP countries under existing deals. Counting only TPP countries in which this is not true, the U.S. federal procurement market is more than 14 times the size of what the total “new” TPP procurement market would have been.
Public Citizen Factsheets, Memos & Reports
- TPP Government Procurement Negotiations: Buy American Policy Banned, a Net Loss for the U.S. (January 6, 2015)
- Buy American Would Be Gutted under the TPP: Unraveling the Spin from USTR (October 21, 2014)
- How Overreaching "Trade" Pact Rules Can Undermine Buy American Procurement Policies (March 2013)
- Factsheet: WTO, NAFTA and 'Free trade Agreement' Procurement Rules Even Meddle in How We Can Spend Our Tax Dollars (February 25, 2013)
Public Citizen Press Releases & Statements
- President Trump’s Executive Orders Formally Bury TPP’s Corpse, but What About TTIP, TISA, China BIT? (January 23, 2017)
- The Burial of the Zombie TPP: Statement from GTW Director Lori Wallach on President-Elect Trump’s Statement on Withdrawing the U.S. From Being a TPP Signatory (November 22)
- Public Citizen Releases State-by-State Data on U.S. Tax Dollars that Could Be Offshored via TPP Ban on Buy American Preferences (July 1, 2014)
Members of Congress Speak Out
- Rep. Nolan Reintroduces Bill to Require Universal "Buy American Steel" Preference for all U.S. Pipeline Construction (August 10, 2015)
- Rep. Mike Michaud Press Release: Following years of advocacy and leadership from Rep. Michaud, the Department of Defense recently announced plans to ensure service members wear American-made footwear (August 13, 2014)
- Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick Calls on President to Buy American: Congressman joins push to ensure "Buy American" requirements for government purchasing (August 11, 2014)
- Rep. Donna Edwards and Rep. Walter Jones Lead 122 Members of Congress on a Letter Urging Obama to Protect "Buy American" Preferences in TPP (July 30, 2014)
- Rep. Donna Edwards & Rep. Nick Rahall Lead 69 Members of Congress to Urge Obama to Protect "Buy American" Policies in TPP (May 3, 2012)