[Federal Register Volume 82, Number 160 (Monday, August 21, 2017)]
[Notices]
[Pages 39561-39563]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2017-17553]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

International Trade Administration

EXECUTIVE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT

Office of the United States Trade Representative


Request for Comment on the Costs and Benefits to U.S. Industry of 
U.S. International Government Procurement Obligations for Report to the 
President on ``Buy American and Hire American''

AGENCY: International Trade Administration, Department of Commerce; 
Office of the United States Trade Representative, Executive Office of 
the President.

ACTION: Request for comments.

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SUMMARY: Section 3(e) of the Presidential Executive Order on Buy 
American and Hire American directs the Secretary of Commerce and the 
United States Trade Representative to assess the impacts of all United 
States free trade agreements and the World Trade Organization Agreement 
on Government Procurement (GPA) on the operation of Buy American Laws, 
including their impacts on the implementation of domestic procurement 
preferences. The Executive Order can be found here: https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2017/04/18/presidential-executive-order-buy-american-and-hire-american.
    In response to this Executive Order, the Department of Commerce 
(Department) and the Office of the United States Trade Representative 
(USTR) are conducting industry outreach in order to better understand 
how the U.S. government procurement obligations under all U.S. free 
trade agreements and the GPA affect U.S. manufacturers' and suppliers' 
access to and participation in the domestic government procurement 
process. In addition, because reciprocal access to trading partners' 
markets is an important motivation for including government procurement 
obligations in U.S. free trade agreements and for the United States' 
membership in the GPA, the Department and the USTR are also seeking 
information about the costs and benefits of these obligations to U.S. 
manufacturers and suppliers competing in U.S. trading partners' 
government procurement markets. The trading partners with which the 
United States has international government procurement obligations are: 
Armenia, Aruba, Australia, Bahrain, Canada, Chile, Chinese Taipei 
(Taiwan), Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, the 
European Union (which includes Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, 
Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, 
Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxemburg, Malta, 
the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, 
Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom), Guatemala, Honduras, Hong Kong, 
Iceland, Israel, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Liechtenstein, Mexico, 
the Republic of Moldova, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Nicaragua, 
Norway, Oman, Panama, Peru, Singapore, Switzerland, and Ukraine.
    The Secretary of Commerce and the United States Trade 
Representative are required to conclude the assessment called for under 
Section 3(e) by September 15, 2017. Responses to this notice will be 
considered in the assessment as well as in the final report of findings 
and recommendations to strengthen the implementation of Buy American 
Laws that the Secretary of Commerce will submit to the President of the 
United States by November 24, 2017.

DATES: September 18, 2017 at 11:59 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time (EDT): 
Deadline for interested persons to submit written comments.

ADDRESSES: You may submit responses to the questions below by one of 
the following methods:
    (a) Electronic Submission: Submit all electronic comments via the 
Federal e-Rulemaking Portal at http://www.regulations.gov. The 
materials in the docket will not be edited to remove identifying or 
contact information, and the Department cautions against including any 
information in an electronic submission that the submitter does not 
want publicly disclosed. Attachments to electronic comments will be 
accepted in Microsoft Word, Excel, or Adobe PDF formats only. Comments 
containing references, studies, research, and other empirical data that 
are not widely published should include copies of the referenced 
materials. Please do not submit additional materials. If you want to 
submit a comment with business confidential information that you do not 
wish to be made public, submit the comment as a written/paper 
submission in the manner detailed below.
    (b) Written/Paper Submissions
    Send all written/paper submissions to: Adam Boltik, International 
Trade Administration, Department of Commerce, 1401 Constitution Ave. 
NW., Room 3043, Washington, DC 20230;

[[Page 39562]]

Submissions of ``Business Confidential Information'': Any submissions 
containing ``business confidential information'' must be delivered in a 
sealed envelope marked ``confidential treatment requested'' to the 
address listed above. Please provide an index listing the document(s) 
or information that the submitter would like the Department to 
withhold. The index should include information such as numbers used to 
identify the relevant document(s) or information, document title and 
description, and relevant page numbers and/or section numbers within a 
document. Provide a statement explaining the submitter's grounds for 
objecting to disclosure of the information to the public. The 
Department also requests that submitters of business confidential 
information include a non-confidential version (either redacted or 
summarized) of those confidential submissions, which will be available 
for public viewing and posted on https://www.regulations.gov. In the 
event that the submitter cannot provide a non-confidential version of 
its submission, the Department requests that the submitter post a 
notice in the docket stating that it has provided the Department with 
business confidential information. Should a submitter fail to docket 
either a non-confidential version of its submission or to post a notice 
that business confidential information has been provided, the 
Department will note the receipt of the submission on the docket with 
the submitter's organization or name (to the degree permitted by law) 
and the date of submission.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For questions about this notice 
contact: Adam Boltik or Kate Mellor at the U.S. Department of Commerce, 
International Trade Administration, at (202) 482-0357 or (202) 482-
5456. Please direct media inquiries to the Department of Commerce 
Office of Public Affairs at (202) 482-4883, or publicaffairs@doc.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 
    Topics on which the Secretary of Commerce and the U.S. Trade 
Representative Seek Information: To assist the Department and USTR in 
conducting the assessment of how the U.S. government procurement 
obligations under all U.S. free trade agreements and the GPA affect 
U.S. manufacturers' and suppliers' access to and participation in the 
domestic and U.S. trading partners' government procurement markets, 
commenters should submit information addressing any or all of the 
following questions. Please identify, where possible, the questions 
your comments are intended to address.
    Background: While EO 13788 is focused on the acquisition of goods, 
products, or materials in U.S. federal government procurement, the 
access provided by U.S. free trade agreements and the GPA in foreign 
markets to U.S. manufacturers and suppliers is based on reciprocity. 
Discussing the impact of these agreements on the access that U.S. goods 
have in foreign government procurement markets helps inform whether or 
not the access is truly reciprocal.
    In responding to the questions below, commenters should consider 
the impact for participating in U.S. federal and/or foreign government 
procurement markets with respect to:
     Business opportunities that are made available;
     Economic incentives that trade agreements and Buy American 
Laws provide;
     How trade agreements impact business competitiveness, or 
increase or decrease competition, in government procurement 
opportunities;
     How trade agreements affect companies' (prime 
contractors') supply chain and sourcing decisions for goods;
     How Buy American or similar foreign requirements increase 
or decrease companies' (prime contractors') competitiveness in 
government procurement opportunities;
     Administrative compliance costs tied to Buy American and 
similar government procurement policies; and
     Additional costs relating to providing or otherwise 
proving the country of origin of goods provided.
The questions below are focused on gathering information on the access 
to U.S. federal and/or foreign government procurement markets for goods 
that are manufactured in the United States, regardless of the 
nationality or location of the supplier. Additionally, this includes 
goods that are furnished to the U.S. federal and/or foreign government 
that may be a part of a contract for services, such as products that 
may be provided to the government as part of a contract for IT 
services, where Buy American Laws might otherwise apply.
    Respondents may organize their submissions in any manner, and all 
responses that comply with the requirements listed in the DATES and 
ADDRESSES sections of this notice will be considered.
    1. What is your company's experience with respect to U.S. federal 
and/or foreign government procurement, either as prime contractor or a 
subcontractor? While any experience is welcome, please identify 
experiences within the past 5 years.
    a. Have you bid on U.S. federal contracts? How many?
    b. Were you awarded any U.S. federal contracts? How many?
    c. What share of annual revenue from your U.S. operations was from 
U.S. federal contracts?
    d. Have you bid on foreign government contracts? How many? List the 
countries of five largest bids.
    e. Were you awarded any foreign government contracts? How many? 
List the countries of five largest awards.
    f. What share of annual revenue from your U.S. operations was from 
foreign government contracts?
    g. List the industries in which your company was awarded U.S. 
federal or foreign government contracts. Indicate NAICS code(s) if 
possible.
    2. Please describe in a few sentences how your company's decisions 
to bid on or supply U.S. federal contracts (as a prime or subcontractor 
or company that produces goods used in procurements) are affected by 
U.S. free trade agreements and the WTO GPA which allow equal 
participation by companies from U.S. trading partners.
    3. Please describe in few sentences your company's experience as a 
prime or subcontractor in bidding on national government procurements 
in countries with which the U.S. has a trade agreement with government 
procurement obligations. What are your three greatest challenges? 
(These countries are: Armenia, Aruba, Australia, Bahrain, Canada, 
Chile, Chinese Taipei (Taiwan), Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican 
Republic, El Salvador, the European Union (which includes Austria, 
Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, 
Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, 
Lithuania, Luxemburg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, 
Romania, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and the United 
Kingdom), Guatemala, Honduras, Hong Kong, Iceland, Israel, Japan, the 
Republic of Korea, Liechtenstein, Mexico, the Republic of Moldova, 
Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Oman, Panama, 
Peru, Singapore, Switzerland, and Ukraine.) How does this differ from 
your experience competing for bids in markets in countries with which 
the U.S. does not have a trade agreement with government procurement 
obligations?
    4. What is the average U.S. content of goods that your company 
supplies to the U.S. federal government?

[[Page 39563]]

    5. What is the average U.S. content of goods that your company 
supplies to foreign governments?
    6. What are the three principal barriers to having 100% domestic 
content in the goods that you produce for U.S. federal or foreign 
governments?
    7. Please describe in a few sentences how trade agreements with 
government procurement obligations affect strategic decisions your 
company makes about production and supply chains for government 
procurements as well as for commercial (private sector) customers.
    8. Please describe in a few sentences any experience your company 
has had with conflict between Buy American or similar foreign 
requirements and U.S. free trade agreement or WTO GPA requirements, 
including whether and how the conflict was resolved.
    9. Please describe in a few sentences whether the presence of Buy 
American or similar foreign requirements affected positively or 
negatively your company's ability to bid and/or win contracts for U.S. 
or foreign government procurement.

    Dated: August 14, 2017.
John Liuzzi,
Director, Office of Trade Agreements Negotiations and Compliance, 
International Trade Administration.
Dawn Shackleford,
Assistant USTR for WTO and Multilateral Affairs, Office of the U.S. 
Trade Representative.
[FR Doc. 2017-17553 Filed 8-17-17; 4:15 pm]
 BILLING CODE 3510-DS-P