White House to exempt Canada on "Buy American": report

Wed Sep 30, 2009 8:31am EDT
 
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TORONTO (Reuters) - The White House is expected to exempt Canada from a provision in the U.S. stimulus package that gives priority to American-made products used in public works projects, CBC News reported on Tuesday.

In return Ottawa will offer U.S. companies guaranteed access to procurement contracts awarded by provincial and municipal governments, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp reported on its website, citing Canadian government sources.

The so-called "Buy American" provision, which favors U.S.-made steel, iron and other manufactured goods in taxpayer-funded building projects, has proved a sore spot in relations between the two countries for months.

Canadian companies have complained the provision is protectionist and shuts them out from large U.S. contracts.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper discussed the issue with U.S. President Barack Obama during a visit to Washington last week. Obama used the occasion to declare there was no prospect of a trade war between Canada and its largest trading partner, the United States.

(Reporting by Frank McGurty, editing by Chris Wilson)