Davis Continues Push For TAA Revisions

House Government Reform Committee chairman Tom Davis (R-Va.) assured that progress is under way in the efforts to loosen Trade Association Act (TAA) rules during a keynote address at the Coalition for Government Procurement Winter Seminar Tuesday morning. If successful, government contractors would have far more flexibility as to which products can be sold to federal agencies.

Met with applause, Davis said that U.S. Trade Representative Rob Portman agreed to a meeting to discuss issues regarding TAA compliance, which states that the government can spend taxpayers' money with certain countries that are considered friends to the United States and whose products, therefore, qualify for an exception to the government's preference to acquire only domestic end products.

"TAA violations are a big issue for the private sector that sell solutions to government," Davis said. "We will soon be talking to Ambassador Portman. I do think he's in sympathy with the situation."

In particular, Davis promotes the exemption of commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) products from TAA requirements. For the past two years, various government agencies, procurement reform committees and industry organizations have advocated a rule that would make such items exempt from both the TAA and the Buy American Act, which requires that government purchases give preference to domestically produced goods. Not surprisingly, the bipartisan nature of government has made implementation of such rules a challenge.

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"They'll be tremendous pushback from the 'Buy American' crowd," Davis said. "But [Ambassador Portman] needs to know that he'll have support on the Hill for these changes."