Canada proposal due shortly on "buy American"

Wed Jul 22, 2009 12:10pm EDT
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OTTAWA (Reuters) - Concerned at being shut out of city and state contracts by "buy American" rules, Canada said on Wednesday it was close to finalizing a proposal that would open up public procurement to both Canadian and U.S. firms.

Trade Minister Stockwell Day told U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk that Ottawa's talks with the provinces are in their final stages and that he "anticipated having a proposal to share with the U.S. very shortly."

The idea is to let firms from both sides of the border bid on provincial, state and city contracts, and not just federal jobs.

Canada's provinces had not signed on to public procurement provisions and so Canadian companies have not been able to demand access to U.S. state and local contracts.

Meeting at an Asia-Pacific session in Singapore, Day also told Kirk that Canada was assessing the impact of U.S. country-of-origin meat labeling rules and "could move to the next stage" at the World Trade Organization.

(Reporting by Randall Palmer; editing by Rob Wilson)