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New Jersey Governor vetoes Buy America bills: Globe

Published by Brad Fougere on February 06, 2015

New Jersey Governor vetoes Buy America bills

Canada has won a small victory in its battle against proliferating Buy America-style laws as New Jersey Governor Chris Christie vetoed a series of bills that would have required the state to buy U.S. products whenever possible.

Mr. Christie, considered a possible contender for the Republican presidential nomination, said the laws would have discouraged foreign companies from locating in the state and driven up costs.

“Rather than helping Americans, these bills simply drive up the cost of doing business, and threaten job creation,” Mr. Christie wrote a statement accompanying Thursday’s veto. “Building economic walls around our state, or our nation, will not improve the lives of citizens.

Canada’s consul-general in New York, John Prato, had warned New Jersey lawmakers that the legislation would have “dire consequences” for relations between Canada and New Jersey.

The legislative package covered virtually all purchases by the state as well as several large state agencies, such as the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

Canadian Trade Minister Ed Fast said Mr. Christie’s veto “protects our shared North American economy and competitiveness.”

He pointed out that 274,000 jobs in New Jersey depend on trade with Canada.

“Protectionist public-procurement policies cause economic harm to workers and businesses on both sides of the Canada-U.S. border,” Mr. Fast said.

Ottawa continues to complain about a range of federal and state purchasing rules that discriminate against Canadian-made goods and services.

Last week, the state of Alaska shelved a project to rebuild a ferry terminal in Prince Rupert after Ottawa invoked a seldom-used anti-sanctions law to block the application of Buy America rules.

The project, worth of $20-million (U.S.), had become a symbol of the potentially long reach of protectionist purchasing rules. The upgrade of the ferry terminal, which Alaska leases from the Canadian government, was to be mainly funded by the U.S. Department of Transportation, which typically requires that all iron and steel used is made in the United States.

Alaska Governor Bill Walker, a vocal supporter of Buy America rules, refused to seek a waiver from the purchasing requirements.

Found in: Buy America

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Alberta British Columbia
Manitoba New Brunswick
Newfoundland & Labrador Nova Scotia
Ontario Québec
Prince Edward Island Saskatchewan