Contributing Lawyers


Cyndee Todgham Cherniak

United States

Susan Kohn Ross


Andrew Hudson

Canadian Provinces Asked to Take First Move in Buy America Protectionist Game

It is not really a game - however, some may view the U.S. Buy America in the same light as the games played by North Korea - YES, I actually said that. I said this because the U.S. is seeking concessions from its trading partners when the U.S. is acting contrary to its international obligations.  Canada and, more importantly, Canadian businesses, are being negatively affected by the Buy America provisions.  Yet, Canada is the one working hard to offer a concession.

Canada's Trade Minister explains that the provinces' reluctance to sign on to NAFTA provisions for procurement when the treaty was signed by the United States, Canada and Mexico is now being used as a stick in Congress to beat Canadian suppliers.

"What they've done in Congress, they say (foreign countries) will be allowed to bid, except Canada because provinces did not sign on to the procurement agreement in NAFTA. Some in Congress have used that as an excuse to shut out Canadian procurement."

Canada is taking the initiative to help Canadian businesses.  The federal government is asking Canada's premiers to sign a declaration that the provinces won't discriminate against American suppliers.  This concession is being offered as a carrot to convince the U.S. to drop protectionist measures. The provincial premiers (like State governors) have been given a draft procurement agreement that would act as an adjunct to the North American Free Trade Agreement.  The draft would tie the Canadian provinces to the same rules as the federal government on government procurements.

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