'Buy American' - WWEMA's Position

WWEMA has been opposed to "Buy American" language since it was first included in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009. The reasons for this opposition are many:

• In today's global economy, many U.S. companies — small, mid-sized, and large — rely on global supply chains for products and parts. Trade restrictions mean a loss of business for these companies, which in turn means lost jobs and economic opportunities for the communities where they are based.

• Trade restrictions lead to monopolies for a limited number of companies. There is nothing more un-American than laws designed to stifle competition and opportunity.

• As we saw during ARRA, water and wastewater project costs increase due to "Buy American" restrictions on funding. The entire purpose of these funding mechanisms is to make it easier for localities to be able to afford water projects, yet limiting manufacturers' ability to source products in the most cost-effective manner possible drives up costs and too often negates any potential advantages.

• Costs may increase, but that doesn't mean local budgets will. As a result, sorely needed infrastructure projects — repairs and improvements that are vital to public health and local economies — end up being scaled back, phased over longer periods of time, or canceled altogether.

• "Buy American" can lead (and has led) to retaliation from our international trading partners as they enact their own local content policies. The inability to export to these countries could mean the loss of far more jobs than "Buy American" will ever create.

• U.S. international trade policy calls for fair, unrestricted trade. Imposing "Buy American" requirements on water and wastewater project funding flies in the face of this policy and places an unfair burden on municipalities struggling to afford much-needed infrastructure repairs and improvements

WWEMA represents the "Voice of the Manufacturer" on this issue, engaging key legislators, the EPA, the Canadian Embassy, and many other stakeholders on a monthly, weekly, and even daily basis.

Together we must educate Capitol Hill and the general public about the fallacies behind the seemingly patriotic "Buy American" slogan. The more members we have, the more effective we can be.

For information on how to support this effort, check out our "Join WWEMA" page and our "Fair and Open Competition Strategy" page.