Blog by Frank Knapp, President & CEO of the South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce

January 25, 2021

Past Administrations have always promoted the idea of the U.S. government buying more American made products.

That sounds easy.

But if American manufacturers don’t know what the federal government is buying from foreign manufactures, they can’t even think about competing.

The Biden Administration is making procurement transparency a cornerstone of the “Buy America” agenda.

President Biden’s new Executive Order calls on the federal government to list on a public website what contracts the federal government is awarded to foreign vendors.

I expect American manufacturing to respond to the challenge and revenue opportunity.

The Executive Order also recognizes the important role of the country’s Manufacturing Extension Partnership programs in every state:

Connects new businesses to contracting opportunities by requiring active use of supplier scouting by agencies. This Executive Order directs agencies to utilize the Manufacturing Extension Partnership — a national network in all 50 states and Puerto Rico, that supports small and medium-size manufacturers — to help agencies connect with new domestic suppliers who can make the products they need while employing America’s workers.

Some critics worry that this new emphasis will increase prices for federal procurement or will cause other nations to retaliate with their own domestic protection programs.

So be it.

Chasing the lowest cost labor overseas has resulted in a hollowing out of our U.S. manufacturing sector.

What savings for the taxpayers we achieved up front ended up costing our economy much more in jobs.

As for foreign retaliation, don’t count on it.  Our domestic consumer consumption is far too important a market for other nations.

What we know and the Biden Administration understands is that the policies of the past aren’t working to keep American manufacturing strong and the nation self-sufficient.

It is time for a change and a time to “Buy America”.

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