American Made Steel – A Modern Story

American Made Steel a Modern Story

Goods imported into the US generally require a country-of-origin label. However, goods manufactured in the US are not required to include such label unless required by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). A Made in USA mark indicates that a product is American-made and that the product is “all or virtually all” domestically produced, manufactured, and assembled in the US. While any Made in America products may be manufactured with foreign sourced material, The FTC generally approves the USA origin claim on any manufactured good where US manufacturing constitutes 75% of the product cost, and that the product was last substantially formed in the US. However, there are no federal laws to regulate this. A product that includes foreign components may be called “Assembled in USA” without qualification when its principal assembly takes place in the US and the assembly is substantial.

How does this apply to Steel? Steel is used for applications from manufacturing to utility infrastructure and everywhere in between and is arguably the most prevalent and important material for construction here in the United States (and worldwide).  Thus, steel production remains a paramount issue in American politics and among American manufacturers. Globally, steel production is led by China, followed by India, Japan, and the US with China producing nearly ten times as much steel as India.  Steel production has been a soft spot here in the US and efforts are being made to produce more domestically. To do so, the government has applied specific acts over the years to increase trends toward domestically produced steel.

American-made steel is any steel produced in the United States even if the raw materials are from a different country.  Very little raw iron is produced in the United States. Why is steel different than other American-made products and how does American-made steel fit into AIS compliance and Buy America/Buy American and other Made in America Laws?

Just because something is Made in America does not mean it falls under the any of these Acts, nor do these Acts regulate all American-Made products. The specific laws and regulations just mentioned apply only to Iron and Steel.  Are all iron and steel projects required to adhere to certain Federal Requirements?  If not, when do they apply? Understanding Federal Acts and how they apply to you may be confusing. Hopefully, this will help a little it.

The Basics:

What is the American Iron and Steel (AIS) Provision?  Regulated by the EPA, The American Iron and Steel (AIS) provision requires USDA Rural Utilities Service (RUS) Water and Environmental Programs (WEP) assistance recipients to use iron and steel products that are produced in the United States. Thus, the AIS requirement applies specifically to the construction, alteration, maintenance, or repair of water and waste infrastructure. AIS requirements cover items such as lined or unlined pipes and fittings, manhole covers and other municipal castings, hydrants, tanks, flanges, pipe clamps and restraints, valves, structural steel, reinforced precast concrete, and construction materials. The term ”iron and steel products” means products made primarily of iron or steel that are permanently incorporated into the project.  According to AIS standards, What qualifies “Produced in the United States”?  Manufacturing and processing of iron or steel must occur in the US, including: Melting, Drawing, Refining, Finishing, Forming, Fabricating, Rolling, Assembly. Exceptions include Metallurgical processes involving refinement of steel additives and External coating of the surface of iron/steel components. Any item considered permanent in the construction of the project must be produced in the US, with the exception of “De minimis incidental components” which are things like washers, bolts and other off the shelf items as long as they don’t compromise more than 5% of the project cost or one component doesn’t exceed 1% of the project cost.  Items determined to consist of less than 50% iron or steel are also exempted.

What are “Made in America” Laws of 2022? The Build America, Buy America Act requires that all of the iron, steel, manufactured products, and construction materials used in infrastructure projects are produced in the United States. “Made in America” laws were established with intent to increase reliance on domestic supply chains and ultimately reduce the need to spend taxpayer dollars on foreign-made goods. “Made in America Laws” means all statutes, regulations, rules, and Executive Orders relating to Federal financial assistance awards or Federal procurement, including those that refer to “Buy America” or “Buy American,” that require, or provide a preference for, the purchase or acquisition of goods, products, or materials produced in the United States, including iron, steel, and manufactured goods offered in the United States.  Made in America Laws include laws requiring domestic preference for maritime transport, including the Merchant Marine Act of 1920 (Public Law 66-261), also known as the Jones Act.

What is the Buy American Act of 1933?  The Buy American Act was created to support domestic industries and stimulate economic growth by promoting the use of American-made products in federal procurement and construction. It applies to federal procurement of specific materials and manufactured products intended for public use within the USA. The act applies mainly to iron, steel, manufactured products and construction materials procured in conjunction with infrastructure projects. The 1933 Act applies to direct purchases by the federal government, but not third parties, such as private contractors given procurement funding through government endowments.  Under The Buy American Act, manufactured products are currently qualified as being domestic when they are 100% manufactured in the USA and with at least 55% domestic content. In early 2022, the US government increased the domestic steel requirement, incrementally increasing from 55% to 75% by 2029.

What is the Buy America Act of 1982? 

The Buy America Act established as part of the Surface Transportation Assistance Act of 1982, was created to give preference for the use of domestically produced materials and manufactured products for any federally funded procurements. The Buy America Act is regulated by the Federal Transit Authority (FTA) and typically applies only to mass-transit procurements for state and local government projects, such as the construction of highways or railways. Under the Buy America Act, purchased products must be 100% manufactured in the USA and all steel and iron components MUST be mined, melted, and manufactured in the USA.

Both Buy American and Buy America Acts contain some exceptions, such as when the cost of domestic goods would be unreasonable or when there are insufficient domestic supplies to meet the government’s needs. Thresholds may vary depending upon the government agency or state regulations.

In summary, Made in America Laws are the new umbrella laws that regulate the BAA acts. The Buy American Act applies to federal procurement or material for infrastructure projects, The Buy America Act applies to federally funded infrastructure projects, and the AIS applies specifically to water and water treatment systems.

If your project requires compliance with any of the above mentioned Acts, Manhole Covers Direct is here to help! All of our products are 100% manufactured and fabricated in our South Carolina factory, here in the USA. Domestic steel sourcing and certifications can be provided upon request.

Looking for a quote on manhole covers or replacement manhole covers? Manhole Covers Direct is the nation’s leader in manhole cover manufacturing, contact
us today to get a quote!

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