THUNDER BAY, ONTARIO - August 20, 2017 (LSN) A new report says the U.S. government is planning to heavily push their “Buy American” plan in the NAFTA negotiations.
According to the Canadian Press, “While it’s being pulled in one direction by Canada and Mexico, urging it to reduce Buy American rules for public-works contracts, and in the other direction by domestic U.S. politicians seeking an increase in Buy American, the administration has issued a reminder that it’s working on a separate path.”
The U.S. says they’re working on a domestic study of the issue – and it’s expected their negotiators will say they can’t discuss it until that study concludes as they have issued a notice asking for public input. This effectively locks in the “Buy American” policy direction in the U.S. which is to be expected under an administration that explicitly campaigned on that idea.
As Dan Ujczo – a trade lawyer in Ohio – pointed out to the Canadian Press, “The issuance of this notice is a deliberate strategy for the USTR (US Trade Representative) to then say, ‘We can’t really talk about procurement, it’s a multilateral issue, it’s much broader than the NAFTA … and we have a process underway so we really can’t put this on the table for discussion.”
“So I think this is a way to essentially shut down that discussion…In my view, the U.S. is playing hardball on this issue.”
Canada should make clear that we will “Buy Canadian” for our public-works projects.
I don’t begrudge the U.S. for pushing for “Buy American” policies for public-works projects. After all, taxpayer money should be spent within the country those taxpayers live in. However, that means what’s fair for the U.S. is fair for Canada.
As a result, the Trudeau government should immediately shift from wanting to open up Canadian public works projects to the U.S. and Mexico (their current position), and insist that Canada will institute a “Buy Canadian” policy for those projects. If the government fails to do that, and U.S. companies get access to our public-works without Canada getting access to those in the U.S., it would be a severe betrayal of our country, and would cause severe damage to Canadian businesses.
That’s why we must support a “Buy Canadian” approach.