Canada, U.S. businesses assail "Buy American" rules

Tue Jun 9, 2009 4:46pm EDT
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

By Roberta Rampton

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - "Buy American" provisions in the U.S. economic stimulus package will cost jobs in Canada and the United States, Canada's U.S. ambassador and a group of U.S. businesses told Congress on Tuesday.

The provisions have hurt jobs in the water and sewage sector on both sides of the border, said Guy Saint-Jacques, deputy head of mission at the Canadian Embassy, adding he did not have any estimates of job losses.

"It's important to stop the contagion of those Buy American provisions," Saint-Jacques told reporters.

The United States and Canada are each other's largest trade partners, with close to $600 billion bilateral trade in 2008.

Canada sends about 75 percent of its exports to the United States. Trade with Canada supports about 7 million U.S. jobs, Saint-Jacques said.

In February Congress passed the $787 billion stimulus package with a provision that public works projects should use iron, steel and other goods made in the United States, as long as that did not contravene commitments to trade agreements.

U.S. steel companies and smaller manufacturers lobbied for the measure, which was opposed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

'SLIPPERY SLOPE'   Continued...

<p>A large "Buy American" sign, in support of Detroit's auto industry, is seen in the back of an auto scrap yard in Detroit, Michigan May 18, 2009. REUTERS/Rebecca Cook</p>