Sunday, February 1, 2009

‘Buy American’ Not Protectionism, Says Union

(CTV News)

The head of the United Steelworkers Union says the so-called “Buy American” plan pitched by U.S. Congress last week is not protectionism, but rather a plan to create jobs at home and to help the ailing U.S. economy.

Leo Gerard said he was offended by the notion that the trade plan, which would ban the use of foreign iron and steel in building projects funded by President Barack Obama’s stimulus plan, would hurt Canadian industries.

“The fact of the matter is, this isn’t protectionism,” the Canadian-born Gerard said Sunday on CTV’s Question Period.

“It’s trying to say that if we’re going to rebuild the economy of Canada, and rebuild the economy of America, we’ve got to make sure that taxpayer dollars are going to be used to create jobs in those countries and get the economies back on their feet.”

The “Buy American” plan, which is still under consideration by the Obama administration, has upset major U.S. trading partners, including Canada, who charge that the provision will only hamper the global economy because it will raise international trade barriers.

But instead of complaining about U.S. policies, Gerard said the Canadian government should work to protect their own domestic industry. Read more here.