Statement on Signing the
Bill Authorizing Appropriations for the Bureau of the Mint for Fiscal Year 1988
March 31, 1988
am today approving H.R. 2631, a bill ``To authorize
appropriations for the Bureau of the Mint for fiscal year 1988, and for other
approving this legislation, I note that section 3 of the bill establishes a
``Buy America'' requirement for the purchase of materials, supplies, and
services related to the production of coins by the United States Mint, which is
part of the Department of the Treasury. It requires the Secretary of the
Treasury to grant preference to U.S. producers and suppliers
over producers and suppliers whose principal place of business is in a foreign
country that does not accord U.S. companies the same
competitive opportunities for its mint's procurements as it accords to domestic
companies. This requirement, standing alone, conflicts with certain of our
Nation's international obligations.
particular, the United States is a party to the
Agreement on Government Procurement of the General Agreement on Tariffs and
Trade (GATT). The Procurement Agreement requires entities (e.g., government
agencies) specified by a party upon its accession to the Agreement to accord
national treatment to the products and suppliers of other parties. When we
acceded to the Procurement Agreement, the United States designated the
Department of the Treasury, including the Mint, as an agency subject to the
Agreement. Certain other parties elected not to designate their mints as
subject to the Procurement Agreement; however, they may have designated other
agencies that the United States excluded from its
coverage. Forbidding the Mint from accepting bids from suppliers in countries
that are parties to the Procurement Agreement, but that do not accept bids from
United States suppliers with respect
to their mint procurements, could be viewed by our trading partners as
violating our obligations under the GATT Procurement Agreement.
Canada is one of the parties
to the Procurement Agreement that has not designated its mint as subject to the
Procurement Agreement. Canada and the United States recently signed a Free
Trade Agreement. Among other things, the Free Trade Agreement reaffirms, and
incorporates by reference, the rights and obligations of the Procurement
Agreement. Thus, failure by the United States to grant Canada national treatment with
respect to procurements by the Mint could also bring into question our
obligations under the Free Trade Agreement, once it enters into force following
approval of the implementing legislation which I will submit to the Congress.
section 3 of H.R. 2631 permits the Secretary of the Treasury to waive the Buy
America provision in certain circumstances (i.e., when he finds that compliance
with the provision would be inconsistent with the public interest or the cost
to be unreasonable). The public interest of the United States includes adhering to
our international obligations, and these obligations should be taken into
account by the Secretary of the Treasury in making procurements affected by
section 3 of this bill.
March 31, 1988.
Note: H.R. 2631,
approved March 31, was assigned Public Law No. 100 - 274.