Canadians Take Issue with ARRA 'Buy American' Rule

The Federation of Canadian Municipalities passed a resolution recently giving the U.S. government 120 days to broker a fair trade deal or face the consequences of U.S. companies being restricted from bidding on Canadian infrastructure projects.

The resolution expressed support for procurement policies that favor free and fair trade, particularly for water and wastewater projects, by ensuring that goods and materials are procured “only from companies whose countries of origin do not impose trade restrictions against goods and materials manufactured in Canada.” The federation represents more than 90 percent of Canadian cities and townships.

David Angelo, chair of the Water and Wastewater Equipment Manufacturers Association (WWEMA), had previously sent a letter to Congress and the White House warning of the risks associated with employing protectionist measures in the stimulus bill, noting that such measures “will ultimately serve to undermine our economy as it will demand retaliation by our largest trading partners.”

In 2008, the United States exported $6.18 billion in water and wastewater equipment and piping to Canada. “The billions we stand to lose in trade with Canada, and potentially other trading partners as they begin employing similar measures, will detrimentally impact our industry and the U.S. economy, with job losses being an unintended consequence of the Buy American movement,” Angelo warned. “We call upon our federal government to take appropriate measures to allow U.S. municipalities to have the same rights and privileges as their federal counterparts to continue doing business with our nation’s international trade partners and enable U.S. suppliers to continue working through their traditional supplier chains to give our communities the best, most cost-effective technology to meet their critical infrastructure needs,” he said.

WWEMA is a 101-year old national, nonprofit trade organization representing North American producers and suppliers of technologies used in municipal and industrial water and wastewater applications.

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