dglobalnews.com Trump 'Buy American' edict may have little impact on US steel
Published: Fri, April 21, 2017
National | By Glenda Ortiz

Trump 'Buy American' edict may have little impact on US steel


The moves show Mr Trump once again using his power to issue executive orders to try to fulfil promises he made a year ago in his election campaign, in this case to reform United States immigration policies and encourage purchases of American products.

The executive order, signed before cheering crowds at a rally at Snap-On Tools in Kenosha, Wisconsin, mandates that the government "fully monitor, uphold and enforce" laws requiring federal agencies to favor American-made goods and services. The additional scrutiny DHS has ordered will include "site visits" to determine whether "H-1B dependent employers are evading their obligation to make a good faith effort to recruit US workers", the Trump administration says.

He announced that the government is about to take "bold, new steps" to follow through on his pledge to "Buy American and Hire American". They would also be asked to offer changes so that H-1B visas are awarded to the most-skilled or highest-paid applicants.

These issues need to be addressed, Trump said.

The 220-day review proceedings will attempt to move the current H-1B programme towards a more merit-based system, steering it away from the random lottery under which it now operates. "Right now, the widespread abuse in our immigration system is allowing American workers... to be replaced by workers brought in from other countries to fill the same job, for sometimes less pay". Since the H-1B visa category does not require the beneficiaries to be the most skilled or the highest paid workforce, it will take congressional intervention in the form of new legislation to change US immigration laws to carry out this request.

The order is aimed at fulfilling his "America First" campaign promises. "It would be extremely detrimental to our industry if things like the H-1B visas were taken away".

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"I am proud to stand with the President as he leads on prioritizing American workers and American products first".

The administration's goal is to ensure such visas are given to the most qualified or highest-paid applicant, according to two senior officials.

The policy would have a "somewhat meaningful" impact on the USA steel industry, but "I'm kind of skeptical it even happens", Lee McMillan, an analyst at Clarksons Platou Securities, said in a telephone interview. "The intent is to short-term high-skill kinds of visas, which is exactly how we use".

H-1B workers are also vital to the healthcare system, and to manufacturing and energy industries, he said.

The H-1B work visa programme channels thousands of foreign workers to the USA technology industry.

What's more, the executive orders will also require federal agencies to review and minimise the use of waivers and exceptions in global trade agreements.

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