Businesses of all sizes should look into this, because it represents opportunities. When the U.S. Air Force couldn’t meet its “Buy American” requirement, that should be a sign for opportunities – for those who’s ready to take the risks.
The Federal Register, the journal of record for the U.S. government, is not known as an exciting read. A notice in the Mar. 21 issue, though, has caused a stir. It briefly described how the U.S. Air Force, hoping to use stimulus funds to build homes at Eielson Air Force Base in Alaska, said it couldn’t meet the “Buy American” requirement for the products it needed, including screws, ceiling fans, light fixtures, towel rings, shower rods, and handrail brackets. “Extensive market research and thorough investigation of the domestic manufacturing landscape” showed these items were made almost exclusively in China, according to the notice. The Air Force got a waiver on buying American for 37 items.
The episode does not definitively prove that certain products are no longer made in the U.S. It’s also worth noting that America’s manufacturing base remains the world’s largest and that it is helping to power the current recovery. Yet the Air Force’s frustrating search, which was highlighted in the blog of economist Michael Mandel, reinforces the fear that American manufacturing risks irrevocable decline. A paper published last year by Joel Yudken, a founder of consultants High Road Strategies, notes that over 57,000 factories disappeared from 1999 to 2009. The study, commissioned by the AFL-CIO Industrial Union Council, said that imports command an increasing share of the market.
via Business Week