There are many bristling questions, which are faced by government contractors. The most challenging among them is the matter of domestic preference programs. These domestic preference programs include the Trade Agreements Act, Buy American Act, Free Trade Agreements, General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, Defense Authorization Acts and Appropriations Acts and the Berry Amendment. Some certain laws among these add complications for the sake of ethics and for the purpose of other compliance programs. Therefore, the companies should take into consideration their supplies source, as the violation can result in a great loss of both time and money.
The most concerned law among all the domestic preference laws is the Berry Amendment. The Berry Amendment for military footwear and clothing was established for a narrowly defined purpose, to ensure that the U.S troops wore military uniforms wholly produced within the United States and the food products for the U.S troops were produced in the United States. This Amendment was named after a 1950s congressional representative. The use of government funds to get foreign origin food products, fabrics, fibers, yarns, hand tools, measuring tools, clothing and specialty metals, all are limited by the Berry Amendment. There are also some openhanded exceptions offered by the Berry Amendment, such exceptions are allowed for end products and all the components of the U.S allies and its trading partners which are found in other domestic preference laws like Buy American Act and Trade Agreements Act.
Among all the exceptions, the most noteworthy is the unavailability of suitable U.S goods in sufficient quantities at U.S market prices. If any company or market person wants to avail this exception then this Berry exception requires a written domestic no availability of American made products determination from a DOD or military department official. Another berry exception that can be prove very useful for many companies is the permission of procurement of items outside the United States in support of combat, contingency or emergency operations, but not U.S. procurement even if wished-for for combat operations. Specialty metals melted in or incorporated into an article manufactured in a qualifying country, generally U.S. NATO allies and a few other countries included for foreign policy reasons is one more Berry exception. All these exceptions make obvious that compliance with Berry is a specified fact and it requires careful analysis and personnel training on part of companies that are GSA contractors and sell Berry covered products.
Many defense contractors and governmental sales seem concerned about the Berry’s restrictions on foreign source specialty metals incorporated in many critical end items. However, the fiscal 2007 National Defense Authorization Act modified specialty metals coverage but the law still applies the specialty metals restrictions to many commercial items, including those purchased by the DOD through the general services administration federal supply schedule program. Many Berry restrictions have been modified, so a special training of workforce is required in order to avoid any loss.
The Berry amendment regarding metal provisions remain controversial. The version of fiscal 2008 Defense Authorization Act has made the specialty metal restrictions stricter, whereas in contrast to this the senate version provides support to the DOD’s discretion under the law. Some of the policymakers make statements that policy such as Berry Amendment opposes the free trade policies. They are of the view that competition promotes the efficiency and enhances the quality. However, some other policymakers are of the view that domestic sectors need the security given by the Berry Amendment.
It is very difficult to predict that what could be the outcome of all these different versions of legislation, however it is very clear that the failure to comply with these crucial Berry standards and regulations can expose a company to significant legal risks such as contract default, suspension or dis-entitlement and other civil and criminal sanctions. For more information on U.S. General Services Administration Sales with WorkingPerson.com, please follow the provided links.