President Donald Trump’s 18 April “Buy American, Hire American” Executive Order has been positively received by some U.S. seafood trade groups, who say it will help the domestic seafood industry.
Representatives of industry groups in Alaska and the U.S. states on the Gulf of Mexico said the executive order will help them create jobs for Americans.
“In order to promote economic and national security and to help stimulate economic growth, create good jobs at decent wages, strengthen our middle class, and support the American manufacturing and defense industrial bases, it shall be the policy of the executive branch to maximize...through terms and conditions of federal financial assistance awards and federal procurements, the use of goods, products, and materials produced in the United States,” the order states.
In addition, the federal government must “rigorously enforce and administer the laws governing entry into the United States of workers from abroad,” including section 212(a)(5) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, according to the order.
C. David Veal, executive director of the American Shrimp Processors Association in Biloxi, Mississippi, said Trump had helped protect U.S. fishing communities with his executive order.
"We appreciate this effort and the Trump Administration’s ongoing efforts to restore the competitive position of the country. This is the strongest effort by any administration to ensure that U.S. laws designed to promote the purchase of domestically produced products are effectively enforced,” Veal said.
The order will also create new jobs in the Gulf of Mexico shrimp communities of Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, and across the country, according to Veal.
"While some federal agencies such as the Department of Commerce and the Department of Transportation have great procurement guidelines in place, it is unclear whether all federal agencies pursue ‘Buy America’ with the same vigor. Any loopholes in the law that benefit foreign producers need to be closed. Any provisions which impede U.S. producers need to be changed,” Veal said.
The Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute also praised the new order.
“Many species of Alaska seafood compete with a variety of imported seafood species,” Jeremy Woodrow, spokesman for ASMI, told SeafoodSource. “Alaska accounts for over 60 percent of the U.S.’s domestic wild-caught seafood. When U.S. customers select Alaska seafood they can be sure that they are supporting the recognized leader in responsible and sustainable fisheries management and that the Alaska seafood is of the highest quality.”
Plus, Alaska’s fisheries employ residents from every U.S. state, “making it a truly national fishery,” Woodrow said.
The order directs all federal government agencies to assess their compliance with “Buy American” and “hire American” laws within 150 days.
“We deserve a comprehensive review of the programs in place at each of our agencies to ensure that domestic industries obtain the maximum positive economic from ‘Buy American’ programs,” Veal said.
While NFI officials are waiting to comment on the specifics of the executive order, “It’s responsible for any new administration to review procurement policy upon taking office,” Gavin Gibbons, vice president of communications for the National Fisheries Institute, told SeafoodSource.