Contributing Lawyers

Canada

Cyndee Todgham Cherniak

United States

Susan Kohn Ross

Australia

Andrew Hudson



New Twist in "Buy America" Discussions Between Canada and the United States

I was surprised to read today's on-line National Post and see and article entitled "Bid to kill 'buy U.S.' hinges on provinces". To read the article, please go to the following link - http://www.nationalpost.com/news/story.html?id=1640456

The article indicates that the United States wants Canada's provinces to open its procurement (not currently covered in Canada's commitments in NAFTA or the WTO Agreement on Government Procurement). The National Post article indicates:

"The federal government is looking to cut a deal with Washington that would persuade U.S. legislators to repeal controversial Buy American measures that Canadian firms say are costing them sales and forcing them to shed jobs.

The key element of such a pact, however, is getting the provinces and territories to open up their procurement markets to U.S. suppliers. At present, provinces and municipalities are not bound by global trade law and are free to discriminate against U.S. companies in favour of local suppliers."

Minister Day will be meeting with the provinces next week and will be discussing having the provinces sign on to the international obligations.

This "negotiation" about "Buy America" may amount to a renegotiation of NAFTA and further liberalization under the WTO Agreement on Government Procurement.

This is a twist - The U.S. takes protectionist actions and Canada gets mad - but we are the ones being asked to give something in the first days of the negotiation. This is a result of bargaining power --- and Canada does not have enough. What does Canada need to do?

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