Buy American, Nettlesome

By August 11, 2009Economy, Trade

The Washington Post’s Annys Shin does a nice job describing the cross-border trade problems that the stimulus bill’s “Buy American” provisions have caused with our Canadian partners. In “‘Buying American’ Puts Strain on U.S. Trade with Canada,” Shin reports that the provisions are most troublesome for industries that are highly integrated across the U.S.-Canadian border, exchanging materials and components made in both countries.

Shin also has an apt term for the U.S. approach toward the issue, “indifference.” President Obama definitely played down the issue during the three leaders’ news conference in Guadalajara Monday.

Here’s a collection of headlines from Canada:

And from The Globe and Mail (Toronto), “Obama underplays Buy American policy

At Hayward Gordon, a Halton Hills company specializing in industrial water pumps, American business that once made up three-quarters of the firm’s orders is drying up.

“It’s millions of dollars in orders that are starting to pile up,” said John Hayward, the company’s second-generation president who believes the worst is yet to come.

“It’s about to hit us like a tidal wave,” he said. “I have to compete against American companies here [in Canada] and sometimes lose orders to them, and I can’t turn around and compete in the U.S. And there’s a hell of a lot wrong with that.”

Relax, Hayward.

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