Canada to launch intense lobbying effort in Congress over Buy America

THE CANADIAN PRESS Canada is launching a major arm-twisting effort in Washington on Tuesday that targets American congressmen and senators vulnerable to tit-for-tat retaliation against U.S. protectionism.

Canada is launching a major arm-twisting effort in Washington on Tuesday that targets American congressmen and senators vulnerable to tit-for-tat retaliation against U.S. protectionism.

Trade Minister Stockwell Day said Canadian trade officials from across the United States are descending on Congress and will be meeting with lawmakers armed with numbers about how many jobs in their districts could be lost if Canada retaliates against Buy America provisions.

“This is the ongoing full-court press to get the attention of Congress that the Buy America provisions as currently constituted are going to wind up hurting jobs, hurting business on both sides of the border,” he said in an interview.

“We’ve produced a map that goes state by state, shows the vulnerabilities in each state where there are businesses that expressly do business with Canada that are at risk to being hurt if municipalities on our side of the border retaliate.”

Canada’s most senior diplomats in Washington and 13 consuls general are expected to meet with over 75 members of Congress and staff on the issue.

The action follows a narrow vote among Canadian municipalities over the weekend advocating retaliation in kind against Buy America, which forces U.S. municipalities and states to use American steel and manufacturing exclusively for projects paid by taxpayers.

The provisions are believed not to contravene international trade agreements because states and municipalities are not subject to the trade deals.

The Canadian municipalities say it would be fair trade to discriminate against any country that discriminates against Canadian suppliers in local procurement contracts.

Day said one estimate is that 7.1 million jobs in 35 states that have Canada as the chief export market are dependent on trade with their northern neighbour.

In another analysis, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce recently warned President Barack Obama that Canadian retaliation could cost American suppliers US$15 billion a year.

Ottawa has taken a position that although it disagrees with protectionism and retaliation, it understands the sentiment behind the municipalities resolution.

Day said he mentioned the resolution at a meeting with U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke at a meeting on Friday.

“I used that as an example … about what happens when protectionist action is employed,” he explained.

“If you feel somebody has slapped you, your impulse is to slap back. We want to see this headed off before we see a slugfest.”

Opponents of the protectionist measures have also warned that Canadian companies who cannot bid on U.S. contracts to build sewers, repair or construct bridges or highways or install water treatment systems financed by the U.S. federal government won’t be able to buy goods from American suppliers.

Day said the Canadian campaign is getting traction, noting a New York Times editorial last week that warned about the dangers of protectionism, citing the Canadian municipalities resolution, which at that point had not passed.

Elsewhere Monday, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said Canadian municipalities shouldn’t adopt protectionist measures.

“Protectionism is bad for Canada and bad for the United States. It’s bad for cities, it’s bad for provinces, it’s bad for American states,” Flaherty told reporters after a speech to a conference in Montreal.

The Buy American clause was added to the U.S. stimulus package to ensure U.S. taxpayer money creates jobs as unemployment has reached a 25-year peak in the recession-ravaged United States.

But America’s largest trading partners have warned that protectionist moves by Congress could poison global trade relations, despite President Obama’s assurances that he wants to keep U.S. markets open.

Just Posted

Lee seeks UCP nomination in Red Deer

Eyes Red Deer-North constituency

Updated Red Deer smoke free bylaw to ban smoking cannabis in public

Smoke Free Bylaw returns to Red Deer city council Sept. 4

Red Deer city council considers new business licence bylaw

All businesses operating in the City of Red Deer will require a… Continue reading

Saskatchewan farmer’s death triggers emotional harvest of love and respect

MILESTONE, Sask. — Volunteers have rallied to harvest the large wheat crop… Continue reading

Councillors want to represent Red Deer at AUMA

City council approves endorsement

WATCH: Medicine River Wildlife Centre opens new playground

The grand opening of the playground was Saturday morning

Animal crackers break out of their cages

After more than a century behind bars, the beasts on boxes of… Continue reading

Alligator kills woman trying to protect her dog at resort

HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. — A woman who often walked her dog… Continue reading

Patients redirected as water leak shuts down Edmonton hospital’s emergency room

EDMONTON — Ambulances are being redirected to other hospitals after a water… Continue reading

Parks Canada moves second bison bull that wandered out of Banff National Park

BANFF — Parks Canada says a second bison bull that wandered out… Continue reading

Lottery for parent sponsorship to be replaced, more applications to be accepted

OTTAWA — The Trudeau government is scrapping an unpopular lottery system for… Continue reading

Air Canada-led consortium signs deal to buy Aeroplan program from Aimia

TORONTO — A consortium led by Air Canada has reached a deal… Continue reading

Scheer going to India to ‘repair’ relationship after ‘disastrous’ Trudeau trip

OTTAWA — Six months after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s foreign policy prowess… Continue reading

Police chiefs want new data-sharing treaty with U.S. as privacy questions linger

OTTAWA — Canada’s police chiefs are pressing the Trudeau government to sign… Continue reading

Most Read

Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month