"U.S., Canada Reach Deal on 'Buy American'"
Ambassador Kirk announced a tentative agreement on government procurement with Canada this morning. The agreement will give American businesses access to a wide range of contracts across Canada.
Read excerpts from a Dow Jones article about the agreement below, and read the full article here.
The U.S. and Canada, its largest trading partner, reached a preliminary deal to settle what had become an acrimonious dispute over "Buy American" provisions in the U.S. stimulus package.
The deal, if approved, will give companies on both sides of the border access to government procurement contracts at the state and local levels. U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk said the increased access for U.S. firms in Canada would be worth billions of dollars in contracts.
Under the deal, countries agreed to permanently give reciprocal treatment in the Canadian territories and provinces and 37 U.S. states covered by the WTO's procurement agreement.
Canadian suppliers would receive access to state and local public-works projects in a range of stimulus programs on a temporary basis through September 2011, when the U.S. stimulus funds are set to expire. U.S. suppliers would also get temporary access to a range of construction contracts in some Canadian provinces and municipalities not covered by the WTO pact.
The agreement is subject to review in both countries before it can be signed, with a target date of Feb. 16.
The two countries also agreed to start talks within a year to explore making some of the temporary procurement deals permanent, according to Canada's statement. They plan to establish a fast-track process to deal with any Buy American provisions in future funding programs, as well.
Trade between the two countries was on track to approach $430 billion last year, based on data through November.
..."We're positive about the agreement," said Chris Braddock, senior director of procurement policy at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. "It demonstrates the economic linkages between the U.S. and Canada."