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Protectionist Buy American restrictions responsible for killing 71 jobs in St-Jérôme, Québec

Published by Brad Fougere on December 22, 2014

Canada Manufacturers & Exporters (CME) is extremely disappointed by the sudden closure Dec 19 of Mueller Canada`s manufacturing operations in St-Jérôme, Québec leaving 71 works without jobs just a week before Christmas. The steel and iron foundry, owned by U.S. based Mueller Water Products, manufactured manhole covers used in the construction and modernization of water and wastewater infrastructure projects.

Buy American legislation, introduced last June by the U.S. Congress, is the main reason for this closure. Buy American restrictions oblige American municipalities to source their water and wastewater products solely from U.S. manufacturers. As a result, Canadian manufacturers are prohibited from supplying municipal water and wastewater infrastructure projects in the United States.

Mueller and its affiliate, Anvil International, a manufacturer of water pipes and related products,have been enthusiastic supporters of Buy American policies.

This is another example of the toll that Buy American protectionism is taking away manufacturing jobs in Canada,” said CME President and CEO Jayson Myers. “It is grossly unfair that American companies can freely do business in Canada but Canadian manufacturers are locked out of municipal procurement contracts in the United States.” 

Up until 2009, the municipal water market was open for business in both countries. Then Buy American was introduced. The U.S. market closed for Canadian manufacturers while Canada’s market has remained open for all.

"Mueller is simply doing what now, unfortunately, makes business sense – closing down in Canada to serve municipalities in both countries out of the United States,” Myers said. 

“Reciprocity is the cornerstone of free and fair trade and CME calls on all levels of government in Canada to implement a reciprocal access policy for infrastructure procurement and specifically our municipalities to adopt reciprocity in sourcing their water and wastewater projects. In other words, ensure that Canadian procurement markets remain open, but only for suppliers from countries that allow Canadian manufacturers access to their markets,” Myers said.

“If our governments fail to act, we will see Buy American kill more Canadian jobs – just like the 71 jobs lost in St-Jérôme.  It’s time we stand against this sort of naked protectionism.  Reciprocity would be an effective way to keep trade flowing in both countries.”

Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters (CME) is Canada’s largest trade and industry association, and the voice of manufacturing and global business in Canada.

The association represents more than 10,000 leading companies nationwide. As Canada's leading business network, CME – through various initiatives including the establishment of the Canadian Manufacturing Coalition – touches more than 100,000 companies from coast to coast, engaged in manufacturing, global business and service-related industries.

CME's membership network accounts for an estimated 82 per cent of Canadian manufacturing production and 90 per cent of goods and services exports.


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