Buy American

The Business of Energy: What “Buy American” Means for Non-U.S. Companies

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By Greg Merritt, President, New Dominion Group

The business of energy depends upon a global supply chain. The needed equipment is produced around the world, and most energy projects contain products from multiple companies and countries. This is especially true of clean energy, as rapid advances in technology and manufacturing expertise define best in class dynamically.

In the U.S. today, these projects are being planned and executed against a backdrop of increasing nationalism and a push to “Buy American”. This country’s long-standing free trade position has been supplanted by new tariffs across a wide swath of technologies and products, including many used in renewable energy.

In this environment, how should a non-U.S. company, specifically those with a U.S. presence, communicate and act, and what tactics will best position them for success?

The best strategy is to leverage local media presence that demonstrates investment and commitment to the U.S. economy and relevant communities. Companies with a U.S. footprint can position themselves favorably by doing a few simple things.

Community involvement is critical to have local elected officials and business leaders see the company as local. Participate in the local business community through such organizations as the Chamber of Commerce, business councils and others to show a local interest and commitment. Perhaps, host an open house with the local chamber inviting other local businesses to come view operations and meet the site leadership.

Make sure community involvement is part of your employee engagement. Support employees in their volunteer efforts so they represent the company in these efforts, not just themselves.

Host a food drive, build a Habitat for Humanity home or sponsor a little league team. Showing a local commitment and joining with other companies and organizations in the area to better the lives of people needing assistance will yield many benefits, not only to the company’s brand, but also to for your employees and potential employees.

Lastly, do the math. Gather data that highlights the impact of your company’s U.S. presence including:

  • Payroll expense (and families to support the community building efforts)
  • Taxes paid
  • Capital invested in local and state economies
  • Economic impact of supply chain and local partners throughout the U.S.

This last bullet should include, and perhaps list the other local firms who leverage your products or services. This can include installers, utilities, engineering firms, banks, local companies, and homeowners to name a few. This information will be very useful in discussions with elected and appointed officials at the local, state and federal levels who often like to see the overall corporate commitment to their jurisdiction.

Be Local — Act Local

Need help with developing a domestic strategy for expansion of existing workforce or developing a new plan for entry into the U.S. market? Please reach out to Laura Taylor at laura@teamsilverline.com to explore how Silverline and New Dominion Group can assist with creating a successful engagement.