Allegation That Awardee Did Not Qualify as a Small Business Because the Firm Intended To Furnish a Product of Foreign Manufacture

B-192052: Dec 21, 1978

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The protester objects to the award of a contract for thermostatic heating control valves under a total small business set-aside solicitation. Even though the bid solicitation identified a brand name item that the protester believed was manufactured abroad, the protester should have sought clarification prior to bidding. The fact that the brand name item may have been a foreign product does not work a waiver of the Buy American Act or permit an offer by other than small business where the procurement was totally reserved for small business participation. Whether the second low offeror will comply with certification in the bid to furnish a domestic end product for purposes of the Buy American Act is a question involving responsibility and does not present a question for GAO review. The protester's allegation that the awardee is not small business should have been submitted to the contracting officer for conclusive determination by the Small Business Administration (SBA). An indication in the protester's bid that a foreign product would be furnished should not have been viewed by the contracting officer as negating the bidder's self-certification; instead, the matter should have been referred to SBA.