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Rule

Federal Acquisition Regulation; Buy American Exemption for Commercial Information Technology-Construction Material

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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AGENCIES:

Department of Defense (DoD), General Services Administration (GSA), and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

ACTION:

Interim rule with request for comments.

SUMMARY:

The Civilian Agency Acquisition Council and the Defense Acquisition Regulations Council (Councils) are issuing an interim rule amending the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) to implement section 615 of Division C, Title VI, of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2010 (Pub. L. 111-117). Section 615 authorizes exemption from the Buy American Act for acquisition of information technology that is a commercial item.

DATES:

Effective Date: September 29, 2010.

Comment Date: Interested parties should submit written comments to the Regulatory Secretariat on or before November 29, 2010 to be considered in the formulation of a final rule.

ADDRESSES:

Submit comments identified by FAC 2005-46, FAR Case 2009-039, by any of the following methods:

  • Regulations.gov: http://www.regulations.gov. Submit comments via the Federal eRulemaking portal by inputting “FAR Case 2009-039” under the heading “Enter Keyword or ID” and selecting “Search.” Select the link “Submit a Comment” that corresponds with “FAR Case 2009-039.” Follow the instructions provided at the “Submit a Comment” screen. Please include your name, company name (if any), and “FAR Case 2009-039” on your attached document.
  • Fax: 202-501-4067.
  • Mail: General Services Administration, Regulatory Secretariat (MVCB), 1800 F Street, NW., Room 4041, ATTN: Hada Flowers, Washington, DC 20405.Start Printed Page 60267

Instructions: Please submit comments only and cite FAC 2005-46, FAR Case 2009-039, in all correspondence related to this case. All comments received will be posted without change to http://www.regulations.gov, including any personal and/or business confidential information provided.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

For clarification of content, contact Ms. Cecelia L. Davis, Procurement Analyst, at (202) 219-0202. For information pertaining to status or publication schedules, contact the Regulatory Secretariat at (202) 501-4755. Please cite FAC 2005-46, FAR Case 2009-039.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

A. Background

This interim rule amends FAR subparts 25.2 and 52.2 to implement section 615 of Division C, Title VI, of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2010 (Pub. L. 111-117). Section 615 authorizes exemption from the Buy American Act for acquisition of information technology that is a commercial item.

This same exemption has appeared every year since Fiscal Year 2004 (section 535(a) of Division F, Title V, Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2004 (Pub. L. 108-199)). The Fiscal Year 2004 exemption was implemented through deviations by the individual agencies. Subsequently, regulations were published to implement the exemption for supplies (71 FR 223, January 3, 2006). The exemption for construction material was not implemented until publication of this interim rule.

The interim rule is based on the probability that the exemption of commercial information technology is likely to continue. If the exception does not appear in a future appropriations act, a prompt change to the FAR will be made to limit applicability of the exemption to the fiscal years to which it applies.

“Information technology” and “Commercial item” are already defined in FAR part 2.

This is a significant regulatory action and, therefore, was subject to review under Section 6(b) of Executive Order 12866, Regulatory Planning and Review, dated September 30, 1993. This rule is not a major rule under 5 U.S.C. 804.

B. Regulatory Flexibility Act

The Councils do not expect this interim rule to have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities within the meaning of the Regulatory Flexibility Act, 5 U.S.C. 601, et seq., because the rule simplifies the treatment of construction material that is also a commercial information technology item, which constitutes a small percentage of the overall construction material in a project. This interim rule does not affect small business set-asides to the prime contractor or the small business subcontracting goals. Construction contracts that exceed $7,804,000 and are subject to trade agreements already exempt designated country construction material from the Buy American Act. Therefore, an Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis has not been performed. The Councils invite comments from small business concerns and other interested parties on the expected impact of this rule on small entities.

The Councils will also consider comments from small entities concerning the existing regulations in the FAR subparts 25 and 52 affected by this rule in accordance with 5 U.S.C. 610. Interested parties must submit such comments separately and should cite 5 U.S.C. 610 (FAC 2005-46, FAR Case 2009-039) in all correspondence.

C. Paperwork Reduction Act

The Paperwork Reduction Act does apply because the changes to the FAR will slightly reduce the information collection requirements currently approved by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB Control number 9000-0141, entitled Buy America Act—Construction—FAR Sections Affected: Subpart 25.2; 52.225-9; and 52.225-11) but we estimate that the impact will be negligible.

D. Determination To Issue an Interim Rule

A determination has been made under the authority of the Secretary of Defense (DoD), the Administrator of General Services (GSA), and the Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) that urgent and compelling reasons exist to promulgate this interim rule without prior opportunity for public comment. This action is necessary to implement the changes resulting from the enactment of section 615 of Division C, Title VI, of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2010 (Pub. L. 111-117), effective December 16, 2009. However, pursuant to 41 U.S.C. 418b and FAR 1.501-3(b), the Councils will consider public comments received in response to this interim rule in the formation of the final rule.

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List of Subjects in 48 CFR Parts 25 and 52

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Dated: September 21, 2010.

Edward Loeb,

Director, Acquisition Policy Division.

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Therefore, DoD, GSA, and NASA amend

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1. The authority citation for

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Authority: 40 U.S.C. 121(c); 10 U.S.C. chapter 137; and 42 U.S.C. 2473(c).

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PART 25—FOREIGN ACQUISITION

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2. Amend section 25.202 by revising the introductory text of paragraph (a), and by adding paragraph (a)(4) to read as follows:

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Exceptions.

(a) When one of the following exceptions applies, the contracting officer may allow the contractor to acquire foreign construction materials without regard to the restrictions of the Buy American Act:

* * * * *

(4) Information technology that is a commercial item. The restriction on purchasing foreign construction material does not apply to the acquisition of information technology that is a commercial item, when using Fiscal Year 2004 or subsequent fiscal year funds (Section 535(a) of Division F, Title V, Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2004, and similar sections in subsequent appropriations acts).

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PART 52—SOLICITATION PROVISIONS AND CONTRACT CLAUSES

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3. Amend section 52.225-9 by revising the date of the clause and paragraph (b)(2) to read as follows:

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Buy American—Construction Materials.
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BUY AMERICAN—CONSTRUCTION MATERIALS (SEP 2010)

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(b) * * *

(2) This requirement does not apply to information technology that is a commercial item or to the construction materials or components listed by the Government as follows:

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4. Amend section 52.225-11 by revising the date of the clause and paragraph (b)(3) to read as follows:

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Buy American Act—Construction Materials under Trade Agreements.
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BUY AMERICAN ACT—CONSTRUCTION MATERIALS UNDER TRADE AGREEMENTS (SEP 2010)

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(b) * * *

(3) The requirement in paragraph (b)(2) of this clause does not apply to information technology that is a commercial item or to the construction materials or components listed by the Government as follows:

[Contracting Officer to list applicable excepted materials or indicate “none”]

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[FR Doc. 2010-24206 Filed 9-28-10; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 6820-EP-P