What does it mean to Buy American?

Understanding the differences between Wire Rope Sourcing Requirements 

As an American manufacturer of wire rope, the sourcing of products and raw material is an important topic for Strand Core. Not only does it affect the performance qualification of our stainless steel wire ropes to the various specifications required in the lifting industry, it dictates which sourcing requirements our products meet in qualifying for inclusion in federal, state, and local contracts.

Buy American Wire RopeAs we are learning with the recent focus on changes to the Buy American Act, various pieces of legislation and associated requirements related to steel sourcing place a preference on steel products that are manufactured here in the United States. This keeps important manufacturing jobs in the United States, while also supporting research and development to keep our industries on the cutting edge of technology. In short, it ensures that the steel industry, and American wire rope manufacturing particularly, are ready to support the needs of the United States when foreign sources may not want or may not be able to do so. 

To help understand what the various pieces of legislation currently mean to the wire rope industry, here is a brief explanation of  several of those requirements:

100% Domestic/Buy America Act
The Surface Transportation Assistance Act of 1982 was established to help ease concerns over the surface transportation infrastructure (i.e., highways and bridges). Part of the Act includes the Buy America Act, which requires any federally funded transportation job to use only Made in the USA steel products. The Buy America Act requires that all manufacturing processes occur within the United States. This means everything from the melting of the steel/stainless steel to the final stranding and closing must be performed within the US. The wire rope industry most often requests for 100% domestic products when the Department of Transportation (DOT) or federal funds are involved. 

This act ensures that essentials business and technologies remain viable in the United States, that employees keep their jobs and skills, and that these companies and industries are available when the nation needs them. 

Buy American Act
The Buy American Act currently requires that the cost of supplies or raw materials which are manufactured outside the U.S. may not exceed 50% of the total cost of the end product (in this case, the wire rope itself). This means that if the steel was melted overseas, the manufacturer’s cost contribution, including any additional material and the employees labor, must exceed 50% of the overall cost in order to conform to this requirement.

Note: Recent indications from the federal government are that the threshold for the Buy American Act will raise from 50% to 95% for Steel Products, meaning the requirements for this act will mirror more closely those of the Buy America/100% Domestic requirements mentioned above.   

Domestic Wire Rope
While not technically a government requirement, The Committee of Domestic Steel Wire Rope and Specialty Cable defines domestic wire rope as that which is stranded and closed in the USA. This means that some of the material making up the rope may be imported. Raw material, including rod or finished wires, can come from a foreign source and then be processed in an American faculty by American workers. This ensures that manufacturing equipment is running and people are employed, but much of the value of the up-stream material is given to overseas companies.

strandcore made in usaIn the end, to meet the Buy America, American, or general Domestic manufacture requirements means that you meet the specifications stated above. But to Buy American means more than just that: It means you are supporting a critical industry so that workers keep their paychecks and the skills they need, especially for those times when we as a country need them. So even when the law doesn't require it, it's always a good policy to support American Manufacturing and to Buy American. 

To learn more about the Made in the USA Wire rope products that Strand Core can provide, visit our website www.strandcore.com today. As craftsmen of wire rope for over 40 years, we would love the opportunity to quote your next Buy American project, or any project for that matter!

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