Canada Welcomes Foreign Junk... Another Step Closer To NAU... Trade Dispute Over 'Buy American' Provisions Ends

Submitted by SadInAmerica on Fri, 02/05/2010 - 1:45pm.



The United States and Canada ended a year-old dispute Friday as Washington agreed to waive "Buy American" provisions barring Canadian firms from projects under a massive stimulus package... (Shame on you Canada! ~ S.I.A.)

The controversial US provisions were part of the nearly 800-billion-dollar US stimulus package adopted last year and drew criticism from various countries which branded them as a protectionist measure.

Under a tentative agreement reached between the US and Canada, Washington would provide Canadian suppliers access to state and local public works projects under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 aimed at stimulating the world's largest economy from recession.

In return, Ottawa will also provide US suppliers with access to construction contracts across its provinces and territories, as well in as a number of municipalities -- seen as a breakthrough by Washington.

Canada's move followed a decision to sign up its provinces to the World Trade Organization's government procurement agreement, officials said.

"The trade and investment relationship between the United States and Canada is very important to both of our countries," said a joint statement by US Trade Representative Ron Kirk and Canada's Minister of International Trade Peter Van Loan.

"At its core are thousands of jobs and business relationships that have developed over many decades," they said.

The Buy American provisions had mandated that all steel and manufactured goods purchased with the stimulus funds be made in the United States or in countries with US agreements on government procurement.

Local-level projects were also mostly confined to US-made goods.

Ottawa has been pushing President Barack Obama's administration to make an exception for Canadian goods in return for a guarantee that city and provincial bids would be open to US firms.

For years, the United States has also been pushing for access to Canada's significant provincial procurement sector, under the WTO Government Procurement Agreement, which Canada has resisted.

"This administration made clear to Canada from the outset that any agreement to provide Canada with expanded access to US procurement absolutely must provide guaranteed reciprocal access for US exporters to supply goods and services to Canada through provincial and territorial procurement contracts," Kirk, the top US trade official, said in a separate statement.

"USTR has won that access for American firms, and I look forward to signing the agreement soon," he said. "The value of new job-supporting contracts open to US firms will be tens of billions of dollars."

The agreement is subject to "completion of our respective domestic approval processes," the joint statement said.

Canada and the United States are the top trading partners for each other and they together with Mexico form the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the largest trading bloc in the world.


February 5, 2010 - posted at RawStory


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Submitted by SadInAmerica on Fri, 02/05/2010 - 1:45pm.