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Washington Outlook Archive

Made In America Amendment Helps US Manufacturers

By James A. Morrissey, Washington Correspondent

US textile manufacturers believe a tightening of the Made in America requirements for Department of Defense procurement will create new markets for them. The recently enacted Berry Amendment to the Defense Department authorization bill will require defense agencies to notify Congress and issue a public notice if they intend to obtain clothing or other items from foreign suppliers. Since the previous Berry amendment was non-binding policy, government procurement officials have been looking more and more to overseas suppliers. Under the new law, the Secretary of Defense now must notify Congress within seven days if it awards a contract to a foreign manufacturer. The secretary also must post a public notice on the Internet, which will give domestic manufacturers an opportunity to show they can provide the products.

The new language also expands the types of textile products that will be covered under the act. Karl Spilhaus, president of the National Textile Association, many of whose members supply the military and would like to do more business, said the transparency required under the new amendment will enable companies to monitor Defense Department contracts more closely and afford domestic manufacturers with opportunities to supply goods for the armed forces. It is estimated that the Defense Supply Center in Philadelphia purchased some $2.5 billion in clothing and textile products in fiscal year 2005. 

January 2006