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Buy American exemption deal for Canada in the works

CBC reports that, “A deal may be imminent that will exempt Canada from the controversial Buy American provision included in the U.S. stimulus package, CBC News has learned.”

“According to Canadian government sources, Ottawa expects that the White House will use its discretionary power to exempt Canada from the clause very soon. In return, Canada would simultaneously announce that its provincial and municipal doors are now wide open to U.S. companies.”

“Sources say the announcement could be made when the two trade negotiators, Ottawa’s Don Stephenson and Washington’s Everett Eissenstat hold their first formal meeting.”

“Last week, Obama suggested that Canada’s provinces must open their local markets to American companies. Canadian officials say the White House first stated its terms last spring, after Obama’s visit to Ottawa. In August, it was revealed that Canada and the provinces were offering U.S. firms guaranteed access to procurement contracts, as long as Canada gets a waiver of the ‘Buy American’ provision.”

To read a statement on public procurement signed by 16 major unions and organizations, including the Council of Canadians, please go to http://canadians.org/trade/issues/NAFTA/procurement_statement.html.

That statement says, in part, “We believe that governments have a right and a duty to use public procurement as a tool for economic development, environmental protection and job creation. Therefore, we oppose the expansion of ‘free trade’ deals to encompass more public procurement.”

The CBC report is at http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2009/09/29/buy-american.html.