(Updates with Minister’s comments in fifth paragraphs.)
Sept. 14 (Bloomberg) -- Canadian Trade Minister Ed Fast said his government will protest “Buy American” provisions in President Barack Obama’s $447 billion jobs proposal that require the use of U.S. goods in construction and public works projects.
“Our government will raise with the Obama administration and Congress concerns regarding measures that impede access for Canadian workers and businesses to the U.S. market, as we did for earlier U.S. stimulus programs,” Fast said in an e-mailed statement. “History has shown protectionist measures stall growth and kill jobs.”
The proposed U.S. legislation contains measures aimed at reducing the country’s 9.1 percent jobless rate. The American Jobs Act says only U.S.-made iron, steel and manufactured goods can be used in building or repairing any public project that is funded by the plan.
Fast said he was disappointed and surprised to learn of the new provisions, given Canada’s opposition to a similar rule in the $787-billion stimulus bill approved by Congress in 2009.
“The Americans understood how important it is that we eliminate barriers in trade between our two countries, and this just runs counter to that,” Fast said in a telephone interview. “I’m hopeful that the arguments we made last time, which we will make again very assertively and aggressively with the Obama administration, will prevail.”
Canada obtained a waiver on the Buy American provisions of the previous stimulus bill for U.S. municipal projects. That waiver expires Sept. 30, said Fast.
--Editors: Paul Badertscher, Carlos Torres
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