Trade Agreements Act Compliance (TAA) Attorneys and Buy American Act (BAA)Fraud Defense Lawyers for Government Contractors in US and Overseas – We Help to Avoid Some of Most Costly Mistakes When Becoming BAA TAA Compliant.
Are you a foreign company, manufacturer, or reseller selling products to the United States Government? If so, you need to ensure compliance with federal procurement and government contracting requirements.
Federal enforcement agencies have increased the amount of Trade Agreements Act compliance investigations and Buy American Act False Claims Act cases against government contractors.
At Watson & Associates, LLC, our team of BAA compliance and TAA compliance lawyers and trade compliance attorneys are experts in providing corporate analysis to ensure compliance with BAA TAA compliance requirements. We understand the complexities of these regulations and can guide you through the process of selling to the United States Government.
By working with our law firm, you can avoid costly penalties and legal issues that can arise from non-compliance. Our expertise will give you peace of mind and confidence in your business dealings with the US Government.
Contact us today to schedule a consultation with our team and ensure your compliance with federal procurement and government contracting BAA TAA compliance requirement. Your business success depends on it!
The Trade Agreements Act (“TAA”or “Reciprocal Trade Agreements Act) as stated in Federal Acquisition RegulationFAR 52.225-5 allows the President to waive Buy American Act (“BAA”) requirements for certain goods from designated countries. If your products are subject to the TAA legal rules, then the BAA does not apply.
Construction companies, manufacturers, small businesses, and large DOD defense contractors are under more scrutiny from DOJ and OIG agencies. BAA compliance and Trade Agreements Act compliance investigations have become more common and government contractors and subcontractors/ manufacturers must be prepared to deal with government investigators and federal prosecutors. The contracting officer in many agencies are now paying more attention to this area of procurement.
With law offices in Washington, DC, and Denver, Colorado, Watson & Associates, LLC works with clients to handle pending Buy American Act fraud investigations, and False Claims Act civil and criminal cases that can become a nightmare for many companies. We work with overseas and US companies and manufacturers whose products find their way into the US government contracting stream of commerce. In sum, our goal is to point you in the right direction to become BAA TAA compliant.
What is Required to Become TAA Compliant?
In order to become TAA compliant, organizations must adhere to certain requirements set forth by the Trade Agreements Act (TAA). The exact steps vary depending on the type of agreement and level of compliance needed. Generally, however, organizations should:
– Ensure that all purchasing complies with the Trade Agreements Act rules and regulations;
– Develop a process for evaluating supplier offers to ensure they meet TAA legal requirements;
– Train personnel on the specifics of TAA compliance;
– Work with suppliers to verify that their products are eligible for purchase under the Trade Agreements Act;
– Track any documents or forms provided by suppliers related to eligibility; and
– Review contracts to make sure that any foreign products are compliant with the TAA.
It is important to note that the TAA can be a complex and confusing area of law. For this reason, it is recommended that organizations consult with a qualified TAA compliance attorney or BAA compliance lawyer to ensure they are meeting all applicable requirements. They will be able to provide valuable insight into how best to structure processes and agreements in order to remain compliant with TAA regulations. With their help, organizations can rest assured knowing they are in compliance with federal laws. See information about substantial transformation under the TAA.
By following these steps, organizations can become compliant with the Trade Agreements Act and ensure that their purchasing meets such rules and regulations.
How Does Your Company Become BAA Compliant? Have You Correctly Assessed Your Designated Country of Origin?
BAA Compliance Requirement refer to the requirements imposed by the Buy American Act (BAA), which mandates that federal government agencies give preference to domestic products and construction materials in their government procurement activities. BAA Compliance requires government contractors to ensure that the products they provide to the government meet the Act’s stipulations and are properly analyzed such rules under the BAA-designated country of origin.
This typically involves verifying the designated country of origin of the goods and materials, ensuring they are manufactured or substantially transformed within the United States or designated qualifying countries. Contractors must maintain accurate records, certificates of origin, and other documentation to demonstrate compliance with the BAA. By adhering to BAA Compliance requirements, government contractors can ensure eligibility for federal contracts and maintain compliance with government procurement regulations.
For organizations that need to be compliant with the Buy American Act (BAA), there are certain steps they should take. First, organizations should work with a BAA compliance attorney or lawyer who can provide advice and assistance in understanding the requirements of the act. This will ensure that all purchasing is done in accordance with the necessary regulations.
When meeting the requirements to become BAA TAA compliant, Organizations should also ensure that their personnel are trained on BAA compliance, assess suppliers to make sure they meet requirements, track documentation related to eligibility, and review contracts for any foreign products used in production. Additionally, staying up-to-date on any changes to the BAA rules and regulations is critical for maintaining compliance. See the essential steps to becoming TAA compliant.
By following these steps and working with a qualified professional, organizations can ensure their purchasing is in compliance with the Buy American Act. This will help organizations avoid any violations and maintain a positive reputation.
Designated countries that are TAA compliant include:
- World Trade Organization (WTO) Government Procurement Agreement Countries
- Free Trade Agreement Countries
- Least Developed Countries
- Caribbean Basin Countries
What is Substantially Transformed Under the TAA?
The TAA requires that foreign end products must be substantially transformed in the United States before they can be sold to the government. Substantial transformation is defined as a significant change in the product’s form, function, or character of an article. Many government contractors do not correctly assess whether their products are substantially transformed.
Nationwide and Overseas TAA Compliance & Buy American Act (BAA Compliance) Attorney Services
- TAA BAA compliance assessment of components and manufacturing processes
- Analysis of complex government procurement systems where multiple players are involved
- Representation with DOJ and IG investigations
- Buy American Act bid protests
- Minimizing civil liability and reducing criminal fines
- Buy American Act fraud defense
- BAA compliance defense in Buy American False Claims cases
- TAA compliance internal investigations for compliance
- GSA TAA Fraud Cases
- BAA TAA compliance requirements – Litigation and appeals
Buy American Act Compliance Lawyers and Trade Agreements Act Compliance Attorneys
Watson’s federal Government Contracts attorneys help clients in various industry groups to comply with the various restrictions and BAA designated country of origin restrictions when selling to the federal government. Our BAA and Trade Agreements Act compliance lawyers help clients to perform internal investigations to ensure compliance with US restrictions on the use of specialty metals produced outside the United States. Our BAA TAA compliance attorneys can assist manufacturers to conduct internal investigations for non-compliance with TAA restrictions with federal government contracts.
TAA Compliance Lawyers & Qui Tam Defense Attorneys
Our Trade Agreement Act compliance lawyers defend manufacturer qui tam lawsuits when whistleblowers allege that the manufactured products do not comply with Trade Agreement Act statutes. The goal is to avoid false claims litigation and leave the company open to exposure to high civil fines and criminal liability and exposure.
Present-day issues with BAA Compliance
Government contractors and manufacturers throughout the United States and overseas have a hard time understanding the ins and outs when it comes to compliance with the Buy American Act or Trade Agreements Act.
As a result, the Department of Justice (DOJ), Various Inspector General Offices (IG) frequently launch government investigations against small businesses and larger DOD contractors who are currently doing business with the federal government. The thrust of any Buy American Act compliance case starts with the prosecutors of the United States investigating either false claims whistleblower complaints or cases where federal agencies have reason to believe that government contractors have committed fraud against the government.
As a result, the prosecutors can, and often will, initiate False Claims Act cases on both the criminal or civil sides because your company is not BAA TAA compliant. This can be a daunting experience. This is a situation where the BAA compliance lawyers at Watson & Associates can help.See More On Buy in America Act Frequently Asked Questions.
What is the Purpose of the Buy American Act?
Compliance with the Buy in America Act preserves jobs and designated country end product sold in the United States. Common referred to as domestic products and domestic construction materials include , the Act’s requirements boil down to
- unmanufactured end products or construction materials mined or produced in the United States, as well as
- designated country end product or construction materials manufactured in the United States, provided that
- the cost of the components mined, produced, or manufactured in the United States exceeds 50% of the cost of all components, or ( the product is a commercially available off-the-shelf item.
What are the FAR Buy American Act Exceptions?
Legal “exceptions”under the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) to the Buy American Ac in certain situations provide for the purchase of foreign end products and the use of foreign construction material when
- the expected value of the procurement is below the micro-purchase threshold ;
- the goods are for use outside the United States;
- the procurement of domestic goods or the use of domestic construction materials would be inconsistent with the public interest;
- domestic end products or construction materials are unavailable;
- the agency is procuring information technology that is a commercial item; or
- the goods are acquired specifically for commissary resale.
Application of Reciprocal Trade Agreements Act (TAA Compliance)
If you are a federal supplier that then enters into a Multiple Award Schedule contract to sell products to federal end-users under the Federal Supply Schedule you must agree to comply with the U.S. Trade Agreement Act of 1979 AKA 19 USC 2501. Under Trade Agreements Act TAA compliance laws, federal government contractors and manufacturers can only sell specific products that are made, or “substantially transformed,” in countries with reciprocal trade agreements with the United States.
The Buy in America Act is often also waived through the Trade Agreements Act. Under this approach certain products that are grown, produced, or manufactured in foreign locations, or “substantially transformed” into new and different articles within foreign countries, are treated as though they were “domestic” for government procurement.
At the Watson & Associates law firm, we try to help small businesses and large manufacturers that are somehow participating in federal government procurement where the Buy American Act compliance regulations come into play. We help clients to focus on compliance and to assess whether they are manufacturers under the BAA statute of whether buying construction materials or products from overseas violates the law. If your company is involved in a federal criminal case alleging false claims and procurement fraud against the government, our General Services Administration GSA procurement fraud lawyers can help. See information about the exceptions to the Trade Agreements Act.
Trade Agreements Act Compliance Waivers
The Trade Agreements Act gives the President of the United States the authority to waive the unique rules that favor American products in federal procurement. Making an argument during criminal litigation or during an investigation can be fruitless unless your Trade Agreement attorneys can make the argument that your process on its face meets one of the TAA exceptions.
The Trade Agreement Act compliance requirements apply to government procurement for services and goods at or more than $204,000, and federal government or construction procurements at or above $7,864,000. The TAA does not apply in the following situations:
- Acquisitions set aside for small businesses
- Acquisitions of arms, ammunition, or war materials, or purchases indispensable for national security or for national defense purposes
- Acquisitions of end products for resale
- Acquisitions from Federal Prison Industries, Inc., or Nonprofit Agencies Employing People
What is a Domestic End Product under Buy American Regulations?
The definition of domestic end product. The Buy American Act includes unmanufactured end products mined or produced in the United States. The statute also defines end products as those manufactured in the United States, provided that
- the cost of the components mined, produced, or manufactured in the United States exceeds 50% ( or 55%) of the cost of all components, or
- the end product is a commercially available off-the-shelf (COTS) item.
- This is an area where contractors face false claims charges (criminal and civil).
What are the Components under Buy American Act Rules? A component under BAA regulations is any “article, material, or supply incorporated directly into an end product or construction material.” See 48 CFR. 25.003. This is an area where there are numerous disputes during a Buy American Act fraud case or false claims charge. Be aware that components could potentially be considered as mined, produced, or manufactured in the United States, regardless of their actual place of origin, if
- the end product in which they are incorporated is manufactured in the United States, and
- the components are of a class or kind determined by the government not to be mined, produced, or manufactured in the United States
Buy America Compliant? How to Calculate the Cost of Components. Under Buy American Act compliance regulations can cases, the costs of components are generally calculated based on allowable costs incurred by the contractor in purchasing or manufacturing the components. The statutes and cases suggest that
- for components purchased by the contractor, the cost of components includes the acquisition costs (including transportation costs to the place of incorporation into the end product or construction material), and any applicable duty (regardless of whether a duty-free certificate of entry is issued); and
- for components manufactured by the contractor, the cost of components includes all costs associated with the manufacture of the component (including transportation, as discussed above), and allocable overhead costs, but excluding profits and any costs associated with the manufacture of the end product.
What is Commercial Off the Shelf Under BAA Regulations? Commercially available off-the-shelf (COTS) items for purposes of Buy American compliance typically include any item of supply (including construction material) that is
- a “commercial item,”
- sold in substantial quantities in the commercial marketplace; and
- offered to the government without modification, in the same form in which it is sold in the commercial marketplace.
What is “Manufactured” Under Buy American Regulations? BAA regulations typically require that your end products at least 50-55% of all components be manufactured in the USA or designated country of origin. Government procurement rules do not conclusively preclude all item processing overseas, so long as certain other requirements are met. These are all complex factual and legal disputes involved during government investigations along with civil and criminal trials.
Avoid Buy American Act Fraud Cases & False Claims – Criminal and Civil Penalties
Watson & Associates attorneys help contractors and suppliers help to defend against False Claims Act fraud cases from the Department of Justice that allege Buy American Act fraud and U.S. Trade Agreements Act non-compliance. If you are facing fines and criminal charges for products manufactured in China or other prohibited countries, give our federal defense law firm a call for immediate representation and defense.
Call Watson’s Buy American Act Lawyers and Trade Agreement Act Attorneys
If you want to minimize or avoid false claims act fines, civil and criminal liability. As a government contractor, our Buy American Act compliance lawyers can provide immediate legal advice and attorney. Representation if you are facing a TAA or BAA investigation, high-profile case or some other problem.
If you are an overseas manufacturer, or somehow are involved in components for end products for federal government contracts, contact Watson & Associates BAA compliance law firm and TAA fraud defense lawyers at 1.866.601.5518 for immediate help.