Biden plans executive order to force the government to buy more products made in the US

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Biden plans executive order to force the government to buy more products made in the US
President Joe Biden signs executive orders in the first days of his presidency.Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images
  • President Joe Biden is hoping to boost US manufacturing with a new executive order Monday.
  • The order seeks to increase the amount of US-made goods being bought by the federal government.
  • It can be seen as a continuation of, or rival to, Trump's "America First" policy.

President Joe Biden plans to sign an executive order Monday with the goal of increasing the amount of US-made goods bought by federal government agencies and boosting the manufacturing sector in the US, the White House said.

The "Made in America" executive order seeks to ensure that "when the federal government spends taxpayer dollars they are spent on American made goods by American workers and with American-made component parts," the White House said in a briefing document shared with media outlets.

President Donald Trump previously signed a series of orders compelling US government agencies to boost their purchase of US-made products, which the Biden order aims to expand on. It also seeks to close loopholes that let some agencies dodge the instruction.

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The president has said he will implement a $400 billion procurement plan meant to "power new demand for American products, materials, and services."

Per the White House briefing, the order is meant to:

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  • Boost domestic manufacturing by increasing the threshold for how much of a product that must be made in the US before it can be purchased by an agency, and the amount it can cost relative to products made abroad.
  • Crack down on waivers that let agencies avoid the requirements.
  • Connect agencies with a network of domestic suppliers.
  • Require agencies reviews how they are implementing the rules.
  • Appoint a senior official to the Office of Management and Budget to enforce the order.

Since taking office Wednesday, Biden has issued a series of executive orders, mostly designed to reverse his predecessor's policies on issues including climate change and immigration. Biden's "Made in America" policies, however, can be seen as a continuation of, or rival to, Trump's "America First" policy.

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Biden's policies are part of his "Build Back Better" plan to revitalize the US economy, which was devastated by the coronavirus pandemic.

Economists in comments to The Wall Street Journal have criticized the "Buy American" plans, saying they could increase the prices for some goods and could prompt countries to try to block imports from the US.

Trump's victory in the 2016 election was partly credited to his appeal to working-class voters in areas where US manufacturing has been sliding for decades. Trump's trade policy focused on imposing tariffs on goods from foreign markets, boosting government purchase of domestic goods, and renegotiating trade deals.

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Read more: The Biden administration may be historically diverse, but almost half of its staffers hold Ivy League degrees

On the campaign trail Biden pledged to overhaul the federal government's procurement rules to boost manufacturing in a way he said was more coherent than Trump's plan.

Canada's foreign minister, Marc Garneau, has criticized Biden's Buy American policies, saying they could damage trade between the nations, which in 2019 was worth about $2 billion a day in goods and services.

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"President Biden is aware of it and the Prime Minister made that very clear that we are concerned about Buy American policies, because it actually harms our bilateral trading relationship which is so tightly integrated," Garneau said in an interview with Canada's CBC News.

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