Does the Buy American or Trade Agreement Act apply to Animal Procurements?
The answer depends on the contract’s anticipated value, whether the procurement is set-aside, and the country in which the rat-producing company is established.
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The Buy American Act (BAA)
The Buy American Act (BAA) encourages the government to purchase domestic supplies by applying a price evaluation penalty—an increase of 50% for DOD—to competing offers from foreign sources. The BAA applies to supply contracts with an estimated value of more than $3000 and less than the Trade Act Agreement threshold of $204,000. Since a rat is categorized as a supply (Federal Product and Service Code 8820: Live Animals, Not Raised for Food), a foreign acquisition within the stated thresholds would be subject to the BAA.
The BAA is mostly waived for procurements above the Trade Agreement Act (TAA). However, both sole source and small business set-aside contracts, inter alia, are subject to the BAA regardless of value.
The TAA guarantees that contractors from countries designated by the TAA as eligible will receive non-discriminatory treatment when competing with domestic sources for providing supplies. Eligible countries have signed a Government Procurement Agreement or a Free Trade Agreement with the United States or are designated as a Caribbean Basin Country or a Least Developed Country. Unlike the BAA, where the government can procure a foreign supply if it is determined to be less expensive after applying the penalty, the TAA prohibits procuring supplies from countries without a TAA eligible designation.
Since Japan has a signed Government Procurement Agreement with the United States, an acquisition for supplies (rats) valued at or more than $204,000 would be subject to the TAA.