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Washington — President Donald Trump signed an executive order Thursday designed to strengthen "Buy America" rules for federal agencies.

The executive order, titled “Strengthening Buy American Preferences for Infrastructure Projects,” directs agency heads to encourage federal grant recipients who are receiving money from programs that are covered by the Buy America Act to use U.S.-made iron, aluminum as well as, steel, cement and other products produced in every contract or purchase order. But there are no requirements holding agencies to these guidelines.

The executive order directs agency heads to report on ways that could be used to boost compliance with Buy America provisions for products like iron, aluminum, steel and cement within 120 days of Trump's signature. 

Trump said Thursday said the new executive order will build on what he called his administration's "tremendous success" in boosting the nation's manufacturing sector.

"We don't get treated great by many countries in terms of our trade deals. That's changing rapidly, but we are now looking out a little bit for ourselves, and it's about time," he said. "We want American roads, bridges and railways and everything else to be built with American iron, American steel, American concrete and American hands.

"If you look at what's happened with the steel industry, it's actually amazing," Trump continued. "The steel industry is thriving now and it was dead when I came to office... They were dumping steel all over the place. The jobs were going... and aluminum, too. But when you look at what's happened to the steel industry, it's been incredible. One of the great successes, and now prices are starting to come down because they're competing with each other." 

The order is Trump’s second order since he took office is 2017 that is designed to bolster Buy American provisions.

Thomas Gibson, president and CEO of the American Iron and Steel Institute, said that the executive order, "builds upon President Trump’s April 2017 executive order on this topic, which resulted in stronger compliance with our domestic procurement laws, including Buy America requirements, and a marked reduction in waivers to those laws.

“Strong domestic procurement preferences for federally funded infrastructure projects are vital to the health of the domestic steel industry, and have helped create manufacturing jobs and build American infrastructure," Gibson said. 

klaing@detroitnews.com

(202) 662-8735

Twitter: @Keith_Laing

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