Canadian Minister of Industry, the Mistakes of ‘Buy American’

By May 20, 2009Economy, General, Trade

Canadian Minister of Industry Tony Clement spent the morning at the National Association of Manufacturers, meeting with NAM President John Engler and our trade policy staff,  giving remarks and then answering questions from member companies and associations, and then holding a brief news conference attended by the trade/trade press and Canadian media.

Topic du jour was the “Buy American” provisions in the U.S. economic stimulus bill that have riled many on the northern side of the border. In his news conference, Clement offered a summary of his government’s views and his goals in coming to Washington:

The Canadian government is concerned about any impulses towards more “Buy America” and more protectionism. We see that as inconsistent with the President’s participation in and agreement with the G20 talks and other fora, international fora. It’s a consensus in the world that in order for us to get to the end of the world economy downtown, we need to resist protectionist pressures that we’re all facing, quite frankly, in all our jurisdictions.

We wish to work with the U.S. Administration and with Congress to make sure that this is not something that infringes upon Canada-U.S. trade agreement. We actually think it’s more injurious to American trade, to the health of U.S. trade, to allow these pressures to continued be acted out on.

A lengthier excerpt is available here as a transcript and here as a soundfile.

Several times during his remarks and news conference, Minister Clement mentioned the news conference Secretary of State Clinton gave when she discussed U.S.-Canadian border issues, highlighting security but also emphasizing the importance of commerce. As the Canadian Press reported, Secretary Clinton said security is the goal “without undermining either our relationship or the trade in goods and services, the tourism, the natural flow of people who both work and go to school and recreate on both sides of the border.”

More from Dow-Jones:

WASHINGTON -(Dow Jones)- Canadian Industry Minister Tony Clement expressed concern Wednesday that the Buy American provisions included in the U.S. stimulus package passed earlier this year continue to expand.

“It seems to be metastasizing a little bit, which is of grave concern to Canada,” Clement told reporters during a trip to Washington to meet with Obama administration officials and lawmakers.

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