OTTAWA, Ont. — Canadian exporters and manufacturers are concerned US President Barack Obama’s ‘But American’ campaign could damage trade relations and curtail exports to the US.
The Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters (CME) issued a release yesterday, urging Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper to address the ‘Buy American’ provisions contained in the US stimulus package when Obama visits Canada next month.
“Canada and the United States need to work together on a common strategy that encourages business investment, not one that drives a wedge between us,” says CME President Jayson Myers. “We must adopt a mutually-beneficial plan that will help both countries emerge from this recession in a stronger competitive position.”
In a letter to International Trade Minister, Stockwell Day, the CME said the Buy America provisions would be detrimental to Canadian exporters, especially those that ship building materials and equipments into the US. The trucking industry is also at risk, as US-bound shipments could be decimated.
“Canadian manufacturers and exporters need reassurance that the national treatment provisions of NAFTA and our other treaties with the United States provide a safeguard against the restrictive provisions of proposed US legislation,” writes Myers. “We also require continued strong leadership from the Canadian Government to ensure that Canadian businesses are not excluded from their major export market. It should be noted that while NAFTA covers federal procurement, the agreement contains a number of exemptions including federal transfers to provinces and state governments for infrastructure projects. Sub-national governments are in fact excluded from the agreement.”
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