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Quick facts about "Buy America" requirements for Federal-aid highway construction

23 CFR 635.410

  1. Buy America applies only to the Federal-aid highway construction program.
  2. Applies to iron and steel products and their coatings. Raw materials were originally included; however, lack of adequate domestic supply resulted in a 1995 nationwide waiver for iron ore, pig iron, reduced/processed/pelletized iron ore, and raw alloys.
  3. All manufacturing processes must take place domestically. Manufacturing is any process that modifies the chemical content; physical shape or size; or final finish of a product. Manufacturing begins with the initial melting and mixing, and continues through the bending and coating stages. If a domestic product is taken out of the US for any process, it becomes foreign source material.
  4. Materials must be permanently installed, not temporary. Temporary materials may be left in place at the contractor's convenience.
  5. Minimal Use Criteria - Non-domestic iron and steel materials may be used provided, the cost of such material does not exceed one-tenth of one percent (0.1 percent) of the total contract cost or $2,500, whichever is greater. For purposes of this paragraph, the cost is that shown to be the value of the steel and iron products as they are delivered to the project.
  6. Under an alternate bid procedure, foreign source materials may be used if the total contract bid using foreign source materials is 25% less than the lowest total bid using domestic materials.
  7. Project specific waivers may be approved by the Regional Administrator.
  8. NAFTA does not apply. There is a specific exemption within NAFTA (article 1001) for grant programs such as the Federal-aid highway program. Similarly, the GATT and EEC agreements do not apply.
  9. Buy America is a separate and distinct program from Buy American. Buy American applies to all federal direct procurements; it covers approximately 100 products and has completely different rules. Requirements are found in 41 U.S.C. 10(a)-10(c).
  10. In 1994, a nationwide waiver for specific ferryboat parts came into effect.
  11. State restrictions may include additional products but must allow any US domestic source.
Updated: 06/27/2017
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