On this month`s blog, I wanted to start the new year and talk about the US Trade Agreements Act of 1979 (“TAA”). Yes, the TAA (19 U.S.C§ 2501 et seq.) remains one of the main pains of the GSA and USG contractors and, at the same time, one of the most confusing topics to discuss. This is no more evident than in the recent complaint filed by the DOJ against four GSA contractors on November 24, 2010. All four of these contractors entered into a Schedule 75 contract for Office Products/Supplies and the DOJ claimed that they “offered for sale and actually sold products that do not correspond to the TAA.” Here is a relevant preliminary section of the submission: The most important for U.S. obligations under trade agreements ordered that the “Buy American” requirement be applied in a manner consistent with U.S. obligations under international agreements. This requirement meant that the ARRA “Buy American” requirement would not apply to the United States for markets under trade agreements. Trading partner. Thus, the United States did not count on the power to waive the TAA to exclude amp and FTA partners from the application of the ARRA “Buy American” requirement, but contained an explicit provision to exclude them. Under the WTO Agreement on Government Procurement (GPA) and Free Trade Agreements (FTAs), the United States has committed to opening its government procurement without discrimination to 57 countries or economies. With respect to the goods and services covered by these agreements, the United States must treat the goods, services and suppliers of the 57 parties in a manner comparable to that of the United States, services and suppliers. To enable the United States to enforce this requirement, the U.S. Congress passed the Trade Agreements Act of 1979 (TAA).

At first glance, this law gives the president broad power to waive discriminatory purchasing requirements for purchases that the U.S. covers under international agreements. But in reality, this authority is very limited. It`s scary. Many GSA contractors do not fully understand the TAA and which countries are approved or “designated” and which countries are not. The TAA requires that all products sold to the U.S. government be manufactured in one of the designated countries considered fair to the United States. Verifying the county in which a product was manufactured is a very difficult process for a reseller or distributor. This can be almost impossible for a reseller or distributor who offers tens of thousands (or even hundreds) of thousands of products. Each GSA contractor is required to verify the country of origin (COO) for each product and ensure its compliance with the TAA before adding it to their GSA contract and selling it to the government. I don`t think it`s unreasonable to think that many contractors with a long price list don`t break down all products properly. And don`t think it`s just contractors under Office Products/Supplies Schedule 75 who are facing this daunting task.

I know many technology and security product companies that also have these challenges (both at the beginning of contract performance and regularly throughout the duration of the contract). Signed by the President on 26 July 1979 This law was introduced to the 96th Congress, which ended from 15 January 1979 to 16 June 1979. December 1980. Laws that have not been passed until the end of a congress are removed from the books. The importance of waiving the TAA to baa cannot be ignored, given that it is the most well-known national preferential program in the United States and is often invoked by trading partners as proof that the U.S. supply system is not open. However, the waiver of the TAA does not affect many other laws that impose preferences for U.S. goods, services or suppliers. With respect to these other national purchasing requirements, the United States must exclude purchases subject to it from its obligations under the GPA and free trade agreements. A previous post describes the acquisition that the United States…