The Trump administration says it is time for tougher enforcement of rules governing the hiring of certain foreign workers in the United States, and to review laws requiring U.S. government agencies to use American-made products.
President Donald Trump is scheduled to sign an executive order regarding “Buy American/Hire American” rules on Tuesday as he visits a tool-making manufacturer in the midwestern state of Wisconsin.
In a briefing for journalists, senior administration officials said lax enforcement and numerous legal loopholes mean American workers and companies lose jobs and business to foreign competition, which hurts the U.S. economy.
Trump is signing the order even though he built a global business empire before running for the White House in which he regularly outsourced the manufacture of dozens of consumer products to overseas locations. Trump-branded products, including ties, suits, dress shirts, furniture, bedding, vodka, home goods and accessories for his luxury hotels, have all been manufactured outside the United States, although some of his goods are made in the U.S.
In all, the Trump products have been made in 12 countries, including China, Mexico, India, Germany and other nations around the globe.
As president, Trump has held onto ownership of his vast real estate and business holdings, despite complaints from ethics experts who say he should divest himself of any financial interests to avoid potential conflicts of interest. Trump has turned over management of his business empire to his two adult sons, Donald Trump, Jr. and Eric Trump, and says he will have no contact with them about their business decisions.
Under the order Trump is signing, government agencies are being directed to review their procurement practices and require that exceptions to the “buy American” rules be approved by the heads of those agencies.
Officials also said government procurement portions of existing trade agreements will be reviewed to see if U.S. companies get the same chance to sell products to the governments of U.S. trading partners that foreign firms get in Washington.
Another review is aimed at rules governing visas issued to foreigners with certain skills, called the “H-1B.” The visa program is supposed to bring workers with skills that are scarce in the United States into the country; but, Trump administration officials say they are concerned that companies are hiring foreigners who do the same work as Americans at lower wages.
Government agencies are being directed to conduct “top to bottom” reviews of these rules and laws, and report problems and recommendations that may bring about changes.