Canada and United States Reach Agreement on Buy American

(No. 56 – February 5, 2010 – 8:20 ET) The Honourable Peter Van Loan, Minister of International Trade, today announced that Canada and the United States have reached an agreement that would allow Canadian companies to participate in U.S. infrastructure projects financed under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Recovery Act). 

“Preserving and creating jobs is the Canadian government’s top priority,” said Minister Van Loan. “Our government stood up for Canadian businesses and workers in resolving this issue with our U.S. partners.”

Under the agreement, Canadian suppliers will be provided access to state and local public works projects under the Recovery Act in a range of areas, including programs of the U.S. Department of Energy, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Environmental Protection Agency. These are areas of procurement where Canadian companies have traditionally been suppliers or sub-contractors in the United States. 

Minister Van Loan expressed his appreciation to the provinces and territories, as well as to key industry associations whose support throughout the discussions leading to this deal has been of great value to federal negotiators. All those involved expressed the desire to work toward a stable and prosperous trade relationship with the United States to ensure supply chains and business relations are not unduly affected.

The provinces and territories collaborated to develop an offer that enabled Canada to reach this agreement with the United States. By opening up their procurement markets, the provinces and territories have ensured that Canadian firms have continued access to U.S. markets and that North American supply chains remain strong.

Under the provisions of the World Trade Organization Agreement on Government Procurement (GPA), Canada and the United States have agreed to offer each other permanent market access at the sub-federal level. This means that Canadian suppliers will have guaranteed access to U.S. sub-federal procurement and U.S. suppliers will have guaranteed access to provincial procurement in accordance with undertakings under the GPA.

As some of the measures announced today are temporary, Canada and the United States have agreed to begin discussions within the year to explore the possibility of additional reciprocal access to procurement markets on a permanent basis. In this spirit, both countries have also agreed to establish a fast-track consultation process should similar Buy American provisions be applied to future funding programs.

“Today’s agreement further strengthens the Canada-U.S. relationship to the benefit of Canadian workers and businesses. We are able to resolve these challenges because of our strong and enduring continental friendship,” said Minister Van Loan.

“This is an important agreement. It is a good step in the right direction and puts Canada in a stronger position in our efforts to fight Buy American restrictions in the future,” said Jayson Meyers, President and CEO of Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters.

“The prosperity of both Canada and the United States depends heavily upon our ability to work together in overcoming shared challenges. The Canadian Council of Chief Executives therefore congratulates the Canadian government for its success in negotiating an agreement that will enhance the free flow of goods and services between Canada and the United States,” said John Manley, President and CEO of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives.

“This agreement represents an important step forward that puts Canadian companies in a better position to benefit from remaining U.S. infrastructure stimulus funding,” said Perrin Beatty, President and CEO of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce.

Both countries must complete their respective approval processes before the agreement can come into force. 

Canada and the United States hope to conclude this process by February 16.

Backgrounder -  Buy American


- 30 -

For further information, media representatives may contact:

Monika Bujalska
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of International Trade

Trade Media Relations Office
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada