N.J. considers requiring more contractors to invest in U.S. products

Businesses awarded state contracts in New Jersey may have to rely more on products made in the U.S.

New Jersey already requires the purchase of domestic-manufactured goods to fulfill state construction and local schools contracts.

Lawmakers are now considering a bill to extend that requirement to contracts negotiated by colleges and bi-state authorities.

There is a concern that the measure might prevent a contract from going to the lowest bidder, said Assemblyman Joe Lagana, D-Bergen.

“If it was inconsistent with public interest, if the products were not satisfactory, there would be a waiver upon application and non-U.S.-made products would be used in those circumstances,” he said.

The bill also allows for a waiver if U.S. manufactured goods were too costly.

The intent is to boost domestic manufacturing and create jobs, said Assemblyman Pat Diegnan.

“We should give a benefit and a preference to goods that are made in the United States, but there is a provision in the bill that if it is too costly, there would be a 30-day provision to waive that particular requirement,” said Diegnan, D-Middlesex.

The measure has bipartisan sponsors, but there’s no indication whether Gov. Chris Christie would sign it into law if it makes it through the Legislature.

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