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Buy America a jobs killer for US and Canadian manufacturers: CME

Published by Steve Coleman on September 14, 2011

New Buy American procurement restrictions contained in President Obama's Jobs Bill currently before Congress threaten jobs in both Canada and the United States, according to Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters (CME). Mathew Wilson, vice president, policy, with CME released the following statement:

We are extremely disappointed and concerned that Buy American restrictions are reappearing. Canadian manufacturers that supply America's building, transportation, and state and municipal infrastructure markets will be seriously affected if these new restrictions become law.

But, we are very pleased by the rapid response of the Canadian Government in addressing the concerns of Canadian manufacturers and exporters. We need to make the case very clearly to US officials that the proposed Buy American restrictions which are similar to the provisions that appeared two years ago under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act are bad for US and Canadian industry alike.

Experience with the ARRA showed us that Buy American procurement restrictions raised the cost and delayed the start-up of infrastructure projects in the US. They excluded Canadian manufacturers, but given the integrated nature of our supply chains, many US suppliers also lost business and jobs because their Canadian customers were shut out of the US market.

Those were the problems that led to last year's Canada-US Procurement Agreement that provided Canadian manufacturers an exemption to the ARRA restrictions. They are as relevant and important today as they were two years ago.

Our procurement agreement provides a defence for Canada and I am very pleased that International Trade Minister Fast has moved so quickly to launch consultations to address this issue immediately.

CME and our members will be monitoring the situation closely and working with Minister Fast and his team to address this serious issue.

Political circumstances have also changed in the US Buy American restrictions will make it more difficult to secure Republican support for the President's jobs bill.

But Canada still has to make our case very clearly: You don't create jobs by restricting business opportunities between the world's two largest trading partners.

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