ANNOUNCEMENT 28 Apr 2009In April 2009, the US government announced a change in import formalities.
NUMBER OF INTERVENTIONS
US Environmental Protection Agency Memorandum (http://www.epa.gov/water/eparecovery/docs/04-29-2009_BA_waiver_process_final.pdf)
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) provided funds for the U.S. states to undertake investments in clean water and drinking water. This scheme is governed by regulations issued by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). On 28 April 2009 the EPA issued regulations concerning assistance received under the Clean Water State Revolving Loan Fund and the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund. (The ARRA authorized $4 billion and $2 billion for these two funds, respectively.) In its implementing guidance, having stated its "foremost expectation" is that recipients of these funds use American iron, steel, and manufacturedgoods, the EPA does mention the available exceptions and allowing purchases from GPA signatories, free trade agreement partners of the U.S., and least developed countries.
The EPA also proposed a procedure whereby a waiver from the Section 1605 restrictions can be obtained. Considerable amounts of information must be provided by a party seeking a waiver. In addition, the EPA issued an extensive worksheet through which officials can evaluate waiver requests. It should be noted that these requirements must be met by all firms seeking a waiver, irrespective of nationality. Whether it is easier for U.S. firms to assemble the information necessary to meet the standards of a waiver is unclear.
The EPA further proposes that a clause relating to Section 1605 requirements be added to each contract signed for a ARRA-funded project. The EPA is recommending that each contractor attests to (a) reviewing and understanding the Buy American requirements in the ARRA, (b) that all of the iron, steel, or manufactured goods used in the contract have or will come from the United States, have been produced in the U.S. according to Buy American standards, or a waiver was obtained, and (c) that the contractor will provide any "verified information, certification, or assurance of compliance" with this clause.
The above guidance from the EPA is directed towards non-federal government officials and those firms seeking to supply goods to an ARRA-funded project, even if it is implemented by a state or city government.
So far, three waivers have been granted:
- A nationwide waiver for eligible projects for which debt was incurred on or after October 1, 2008 and before February 17, 2009 (FRL-8789-9).
- A nationwide waiver for eligible projects that solicited bids on or after October 1, 2008 and before February 17, 2009 (to be published).
- A nationwide waiver for de minimis incidental components of eligible water infrastructure projects (to be published).