Thursday, February 5, 2009

Canada Making Headway in Battle Against ‘Buy American’ Plan: Day

(Virginia Galt — Globe & Mail)

Canada has made “great headway” in its bid to win relief from the Buy American initiative in the United States, International Trade Minister Stockwell Day said Thursday.

“It’s not finished yet ...we are keeping on this full-court press, 24/7 to work with our American counterparts to see this through to what we hope will be a successful conclusion,” Mr. Day said in a speech to the Toronto Board of Trade.

Mr. Day was commenting on the move by the U.S. Senate to water down controversial protectionist proposals that had threatened to ignite a cross-border trade war.

The multi-billion-dollar stimulus package now includes a requirement that the U.S. not violate its international trade agreements.

“The developments we have seen over the last week show the power of diplomacy ... That’s what we have put to the test,” Mr. Day said.

The damage to Canada’s economy would have been enormous if the Buy American provision of the stimulus package had not been amended, Mr. Day said, adding that Canadian firms export more than $11-billion worth of steel and iron products to the U..S. each year.

“I’m not saying it’s over …we still want to fully understand all the implications. So there’s still work to do, but progress has been very positive. First the [U.S.] president’s remarks and then the actual amendment shows that we are getting through,” Mr. Day said at a later news conference. Read more here.