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Canada cannot tolerate new 'Buy American' amendment in Congress: CME

Published by Derek Lothian on June 25, 2012

The Government of Canada must take immediate action to derail a new Buy American amendment expected to be introduced later this week in the United States Congress, and work towards a joint content rule for all future procurement spending, according to Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters (CME).
The provision will be attached to the 2013 funding bill for the US Environmental Protection Agency and, if passed, would apply to all water and wastewater projects encompassed under the bill, including those at the state level. More than $100 billion is currently available for related infrastructure initiatives; however, the amendment would require all projects use only US-made steel, iron and manufactured goods in the construction or maintenance process.
“This protectionist legislation sets a dangerous precedent at a time when neither country can afford it,” explains CME President & CEO, Jayson Myers. “We’ve been down this road before and know how dire the economic consequences can be on both sides of the border. Ottawa must take prompt and aggressive steps to deter the US from pursuing such harmful policy, and be ready to respond with reciprocal provisions for Canadian procurement opportunities.”
In 2009, US lawmakers passed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), which contained a similar, sweeping Buy American provision. Although the goal was to spur growth, many US companies actually lost much-needed business, because they were unable to sell component parts to Canadian manufacturers shut out of ARRA-funded projects.
The latest amendment, meanwhile, is being proposed by Congressman Robert Anderholt of Alabama’s Fourth District. By contrast, Canada remains Alabama’s largest buyer of goods – comprised largely of manufacturing components.
“The US is our largest marketplace and business partner, and our relationship is unlike any other two nations in the world,” says Myers. “We don’t simply trade with one another; we build things together. And while our supply chains have created good-paying jobs and high-standard products on both sides of the 49th parallel, this new Buy American provision is putting our integrated economies at serious, unnecessary risk.”

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