Understanding the “Buy American” Deal – Feb. 04 –10, 2010

Understanding the “Buy American” Deal – Feb. 04 –10, 2010

Postby Oscar » Wed Feb 10, 2010 11:21 am

Understanding the “Buy American” Deal – Feb. 04 –10, 2010

Compilation:

1. "Buy American" Deal - Things to come – Hubich
2. SFL News Release: Back room deals bad for Saskatchewan
3. Cleaning up – or being taken to the cleaners?
4. The Buy American deal and implications for Can-EU Deal
5. CCPA Buy American Basics Report says deal gives away Cdn procurement sovereignty & should be rejected
6. This agreement isn't worth the cost
7. More on the Canada-US procurement deal
8. Urgent National Debate Needed on Harper Trade Deal
9. Buy American 'deal' to be signed by February 16
10. 'Don’t celebrate this deal', say Barlow and Trew
11. Deal easing Buy American policy comes at a price
12. All provinces to sign the WTO Agreement on Government Procurement
13. Canada-US procurement deal said to be reached

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1. "Buy American" Deal - Things to come - Hubich
From: Larry Hubich <mailto:l.hubich@sfl.sk.ca>
Sent: Wednesday, February 10, 2010 8:32 AM

Get ready folks, the Federal "so-called" agreement around a limited access to the U.S. “Buy American" stimulus money and Canada signing on to the WTO paves the way for Brad Wall to sell off Saskatchewan's Crown Corporations.
Make no mistake about it - Brad Wall has a plan to sell our Crowns, and his buddy Steve Harper is helping him do it.
And by the way, when did Saskatchewan citizens every get a vote on this? And where is the legislative and parliamentary scrutiny?

Larry Hubich, President
Saskatchewan Federation of Labour
220 - 2445 - 13th Avenue, Regina, Sk S4P 0W1
(306) 924-8573 (office)
(306) 537-7330 (cell)
e-mail: l.hubich@sfl.sk.ca <mailto:l.hubich@sfl.sk.ca>
blog: www.larryhubich.blogspot.com <http://www.larryhubich.blogspot.com/>

======================

2. SFL News Release: Back room deals bad for Saskatchewan
For immediate release February 9, 2010

The Saskatchewan Federation of Labour today denounced the provincial government’s agreement to sign onto the World Trade Organization Agreement on Government Procurement.

It has been reported that all 10 provinces have agreed to sign the WTO agreement, which will restrict the ability of provincial and municipal governments to support domestic firms employing Canadian workers when they procure goods and services. In return, Canadian businesses will receive a limited exemption from Buy American provisions in the US stimulus spending package.

“Mr. Harper calls it a “breakthrough deal”, but we fail to see why. It is widely accepted that Canadian businesses would only have potential access to a very limited amount of funding delivered under only the current U.S. stimulus program. The Americans have not agreed to permanent access of any kind and most of the money has already been spoken for. What kind of deal is that?” said SFL President Larry Hubich.
“We are very concerned that the Harper government and the Wall government have signed away local government’s ability to tailor their hiring and purchasing to local workers and companies. Local procurement policies can be a powerful tool for ensuring that taxpayer money is spent in ways that aid local job creation and support Saskatchewan companies. Why would we sign away our ability to build a stable and strong Saskatchewan economy?” added Hubich.

“As we often see with these kind of quick and dirty trade deals, they take place with no public oversight or legislative scrutiny. Neither the Harper nor the Wall government consulted citizens before making this deal, yet citizens and local businesses will be the ones to suffer when contracts go to giant American corporations,” said Gary Schoenfeldt, chair of the SFL Trade Committee.

“Saskatchewan and Canada have permanently opened up our local markets to the Americans, likely in preparation for a trade deal with the European Union as well, and in return the Americans have agreed to throw a few crumbs our way. Who benefits from this deal? It looks like the multinational corporations are the big winners, who can afford to come into local communities and undercut local mom and pop operations. Who loses? Regular taxpayers and wage-earners, local businesses, and democracy,” added Schoenfeldt.

"The Saskatchewan economy was built around three pillars: a thriving co-operative sector, private sector innovation, and a strong public sector including our Crown Corporations. This balanced approach to the economy works for a province like ours, and has helped us weather the latest economic storm. The provincial government should strengthen these pillars, rather than taking important instruments for a stable economy out of the hands of local governments,” said Hubich.

The SFL represents 95,000 unionized workers from 37 affiliated unions in Saskatchewan.

For more information, contact Larry Hubich at 537-7330 (cel.) or Gary Schoenfeldt at 537-7091.

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3. Cleaning up – or being taken to the cleaners?

http://www.nupge.ca/content/cleaning-or ... n-cleaners

QUOTE: Brown: It’s ironic that this [Buy American] deal may blunt the move to a new trade deal between the European Union (EU) and Canada. The EU is in those talks because they want access to provincial and municipal spending decisions, period.

They include in that the right to challenge our Crown corporations, the public enterprises that deliver electricity and not-for-profit car insurance and those that sell liquor for public and not private profit.

Now if the EU can get all this once Canada has signed the WTO provisions, their enthusiasm for a new encompassing trade deal may well fade away….
_ _ _ _ _

Cleaning up – or being taken to the cleaners?

http://www.nupge.ca/content/cleaning-or ... n-cleaners

When it comes to the recently announced deal on opening up the U.S. stimulus package to Canadian bids, the evidence is that Canada groveled, and then we got hosed.

By Larry Brown, National Secretary-Treasurer
National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE)
Ottawa (10 Feb. 2010) - What would you call a deal that’s worth tens of billions of dollars to one side (the U.S.) and might be worth as little as $4 billion to the other side (Canada)?

What would you call a deal that gives one side (Canada) temporary access to the U.S. stimulus program, but gives the other side (the U.S.) permanent access to public purchasing and spending in Canada?

Most people wouldn’t call this a brilliant bit of bargaining on Canada’s part.

When it comes to the recently announced deal on opening up the U.S. stimulus package to Canadian bids, the evidence is that Canada groveled, and then we got hosed.

No wonder this deal was struck behind closed doors. No wonder that when the deal was announced it was impossible to find out what it actually said. The Canadian government needed time to work on its spin.

Why were we even in this game to begin with?

Greed over common sense

It was a classic case of greed over good sense. Businesses in Canada saw the figure $800 billion in U.S. stimulus spending and couldn’t control their lust for a part of the action.

But good sense would have (should have) made them pause.

The economic situation in the U.S. is severe and their fiscal situation is serious. What anyone should want, both for them and all their trading partners (especially Canada), is for their economy to recover fully and completely.

But how will it help the U.S. recovery if any part of their taxpayers’ money for stimulus is spent in another country? It won’t create one job in the U.S. if American stimulus money is spent buying products or services from Canada.

Do companies in Canada really want temporary profits so badly that they’re willing to weaken the U.S. recovery to get them? That’s a small short-term gain that comes with a lot of long-term pain.

We’ve heard the cries that the Buy American provisions are “protectionism.” But to rebuild your own economy when it has collapsed is not protectionism. And it’s not harmful to the rest of the world.

MORE: http://www.nupge.ca/content/cleaning-or ... n-cleaners

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4. The Buy American deal and implications for Can-EU Deal

From: "Janet M Eaton" <jmeaton@ns.sympatico.ca>
Sent: Wednesday, February 10, 2010 12:27 AM

INDEX of ITEMS:
[1] Don't celebrate this deal. Canada has given up too much and received too little in its negotiations over Buy American
http://www.ottawacitizen.com/business/
celebrate+this+deal/2531335/story.html

Ottawa Citizen ] February 6, 2010
By Maude Barlow, and Stuart Trew, Citizen Special Story

[2] Harper says Bye to Buy Local
http://canadians.org/media/trade/2010/05-Feb-10.html
Council of Canadians Media Release February 5th

[3] Buy American 'deal' to be signed by February 16
From: <bpatterson@canadians.org>
Sent: Saturday, February 06, 2010 4:33 AM Subject

[4] UPDATE: Council hosts trade roundtable discussion today Friday,
February 5th, 2010
http://www.canadians.org/campaignblog/

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[1] Don't celebrate this deal. Canada has given up too much and received too little in its negotiations over Buy American
http://www.ottawacitizen.com/business/
celebrate+this+deal/2531335/story.html

Ottawa Citizen
By Maude Barlow, and Stuart Trew, Citizen Special February 6, 2010

The Buy American breakthrough announced by the Harper government yesterday is anything but. Canadian companies have secured very little new access to U.S. public infrastructure spending and at a large cost to public policy space for Canadian provinces and cities. It is an ideological rather than an economic coup for a government whose real goals are weakening public services and reducing the role of government across the country.

"Buy American" policies are entrenched in U.S. history, dating back 75 years. President Barack Obama's most recent conditions, which require that the steel and other materials used in infrastructure projects funded by federal recovery money be made in the United States, are only the latest example of spending preferences that show up in highly popular state and municipal procurement rules. They are a rational, and from most accounts successful, economic development strategy that Harper would have been wise to promote in Canada if his goal truly was creating jobs and wealth.

Instead, we get a blindly ideological adherence to "open markets" at all costs. Stephen Harper is trying to convince Canadians that by including the provinces in the World Trade Organization's government procurement agreement, as trade minister Peter Van Loan announced yesterday, Canadian suppliers will get sweeping new access to contracts to which they were previously excluded by these Buy American conditions. Nothing could be further from the truth.

A recent Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives report explains that this will not get Canadian businesses access to federally-funded mass transit or highway construction projects, which the U.S. has exempted from its WTO commitments. They cannot supply public utility services such as telecommunications, nor will they have access to contracts by the 13 states which have made no commitments at the WTO.

Even in the 37 states that have signed on, the report states, Canadian suppliers will not be allowed to supply construction-grade steel, vehicles, coal, or printing. And municipal governments in the U.S. are exempt completely.

There is no way for Obama to force U.S. states or cities to accept Canadian bids as equal to American bids even if the U.S. president wanted to. Such a move would be fought tooth and nail by U.S. Congress, which retains much more power than the Canadian Parliament over trade deals. Harper, being much more dictatorial, has instead negotiated a secret deal with the provinces and once again excluded Canadians from the debate. We should be outraged by this deal, not impressed.

Of course there's the glaring problem with Harper's "breakthrough" -- that the $780 billion of U.S. stimulus cash announced by Obama in 2008 will have all been allocated in the next two weeks. We're scraping up crumbs here, and with big consequences for democratic governance.

The provinces have been loath to sign the WTO's Government Procurement Agreement and did not agree to include subnational procurement in NAFTA because they could lose too much say in how public money is spent without getting any new access to the U.S.
market.

So why have they agreed now? And what is Harper playing at with this lopsided agreement?

We believe the Buy American controversy provided Harper and the provinces, who are actively engaged in ambitious free-trade talks with Europe, with an opportunity to restructure the Canadian economy to reduce the role of our communities in setting spending priorities.

Subnational procurement -- public spending by our local governments and their utilities -- represents up to $200 billion in Canada. Much of that goes toward services delivered publicly, such as water and electricity. Ceding control over how our governments spend public money makes it all the easier for companies to push privatization. This deal is not a breakthrough, just another assault on democracy by the Harper government.

Maude Barlow is national chairwoman and Stuart Trew is a trade campaigner with the Council of Canadians.
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[2] Harper says Bye to Buy Local
http://canadians.org/media/trade/2010/05-Feb-10.html
Media Release Feb 5th

Ottawa - The Harper government is escalating its attack on democracy with the deals announced today on Buy American and Canada signing up the provinces to the WTO procurement agreement. More than 25 organizations are meeting today in Ottawa to launch efforts to counter this and other trade deals whose aim is to destroy local democratic control over public spending.

"This deal is an attack on the democratic institutions capacity to govern," says Steven Shrybman, international trade lawyer and Council of Canadians board member. "Canada appears to have given away the store for very little access to US procurement, so we need to ask why the Harper government is agreeing to it."

"This is the first bad step in a perfect storm of so-called trade agreements, which are designed to open up local procurement that was left out of NAFTA," says Council of Canadians Chairperson Maude Barlow. "There is absolutely no need to put health care, water, and other public services on the chopping block and indeed doing so with this deal runs counter to the priorities of Canadians."

"This is really ideologically driven by the Harper government which is using the economic crisis as a pretext to get what they want, namely expanding private access to the public sector resources, which are valued at $100-200 billion," says Council of Canadians Trade Campaigner Stuart Trew. "The attack on local procurement is really about the demands of the EU in the ongoing Canada-EU free trade negotiations."

"The majority of US stimulus money has already been spent and US contracts for mass transit, utilities, and municipal infrastructure are not even included," notes Trew. "The reality is that Canada's suppliers will never be permitted to compete on the same terms as US suppliers for government contracts funded by stimulus money." The Council of Canadians is criticizing the deal for being thoroughly unbalanced, as it commits Canada more and permanently, while not providing a real exemption from Buy American for Canada.

Trew, Barlow, and Shrybman are available for comment. -30-

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[3] Buy American 'deal' to be signed by February 16
From: <bpatterson@canadians.org>
Sent: Saturday, February 06, 2010 4:33 AM
The Financial Post reports today that, "Canadian and US officials hope to have a final deal signed by February 16."
The Toronto Star adds that, "The deal apparently does not have to be ratified by Parliament and the legislatures." It also notes, "More details on the deal are to be released next week."

SOLD A BILL OF GOODS
Columnist Thomas Walkom writes in the Toronto Star that, "In the newest Canada-US trade deal... Canadian exporters are being given partial access to Washington's Buy American program, which, unless it is extended, will end on February 17. ...To put it another way, we've promised to open our so-called sub-national government procurement
markets permanently in exchange for partial access to a US program that is due to expire in 11 days."

"About $200 billion of the $275 billion in contracts authorized by the (US Recovery and Investment Act of 2009) have already been allocated."
He adds that even if the US Congress passes another stimulus package with Buy American provisions, "Washington has agreed only to talk again."

BUY AMERICAN DEAL PAVES WAY FOR EU TRADE PACT
The Globe and Mail reports that, "A Canada-US deal on Buy American trade restrictions opens the door for more sweeping liberalization of provincial and territorial procurement policies, including momentum for a proposed trade deal with the European Union."

"Under the deal announced Friday, the provinces and territories will, for the first time, provide commitments under the World Trade Organization's Government Procurement Agreement, to provide access to foreign companies for procurement markets - everything from construction contracts to managing health records."

"The European Union is keen to win access to the sub-national procurement markets as part of a Canada-EU agreement, particularly from provincial Crown agencies in health and energy sectors, (John Manley of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives) said."

But "under the trade deals, provinces and territories, as well as their municipalities and Crown corporations, will be locked into a market-based approach to procurement, at the expense of social, environmental and employment-related goals, said Maude Barlow, chairwoman of the Council of Canadians."

"'Canada has committed way more and in a more permanent way than it is getting in this deal,' she said. The sub-nation procurement market 'is the motherlode for corporations ... and you can say bye to buy local.'"

A BROADER DEAL TO COME?

The National Post also reports that, "The two sides have also agreed to continue negotiations on a broader deal governing procurement, which would go beyond what is contained in the rules established by the World Trade Organization."

WEB-LINKS
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-o ... le1458062/

http://www.thestar.com/opinion/editorials/article/
761399---buy-america-questions

Brent Patterson
The Council of Canadians
www.canadians.org/campaignblog

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[4] UPDATE: Council hosts trade roundtable discussion today

Friday, February 5th, 2010
http://www.canadians.org/campaignblog/

The Council of Canadians has convened a roundtable meeting of more than 25 organizations this morning in Ottawa to discuss ways to counter the Canada-European Union free trade agreement and Canada signing the WTO Agreement on Government Procurement.

Organizations participating at this roundtable include the Canadian Union of Public Employees, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, National Union of Public and General Employees, Canadian Energy and Paperworkers, Canadian Union of Postal Workers, Public Service Alliance of Canada, Canadian Auto Workers, CUPE Ontario, Canadian Council for the Arts, Canadian Biotechnology Action Network, Rideau Institute, and Common Frontiers.

Council of Canadians trade campaigner Stuart Trew is chairing today´s meeting. Maude Barlow has just completed her presentation to the group. The CCPA´s Scott Sinclair will be presenting shortly.

For more, please see http://canadians.org/media/trade/
2010/05-Feb-10.html

==============================

5. CCPA Buy American Basics Report says deal gives away Cdn procurement sovereignty & should be rejected

From: "Janet M Eaton" <jmeaton@ns.sympatico.ca>

Sent: Tuesday, February 09, 2010 11:35 PM

CONTENTS:

[1] Buy American deal gives away Canadian procurement sovereignty CCPA National Office | News Release February 9, 2010
http://www.policyalternatives.ca/newsro ... -releases/
buy-american-deal-gives-away-canadian-procurement-sovereignty

[2] Buy American deal should be rejected
by Scott Sinclair CCPA National Office | Commentary and Fact Sheets
February 9, 2010
http://www.policyalternatives.ca/public ... ommentary/
buy-american-deal-should-be-rejected

[3] Report Buy American Basics by Scott Sinclair
National Office | Reports & Studies
February 9, 2010 Download Now 118 KB PDF | 10 pages
http://www.policyalternatives.ca/sites/ ... s/uploads/
publications/reports/docs/Buy_American_Basics.pdf 10 page report

fyi-janet

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[1] Buy American deal gives away Canadian procurement sovereignty
CCPA National Office | News Release
February 9, 2010
http://www.policyalternatives.ca/newsro ... -releases/
buy-american-deal-gives-away-canadian-procurement-sovereignty

OTTAWA-The tentative Buy American deal fails to gain a meaningful exemption for Canadian suppliers from provisions in the U.S. stimulus package while permanently curtailing provincial and municipal procurement sovereignty, says a new analysis of the deal from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA).

"The agreement is highly unbalanced and provides significantly better access for U.S. suppliers to the Canadian procurement market than for Canadian suppliers to U.S. stimulus projects," says senior CCPA trade researcher Scott Sinclair.

According to the analysis, Canadian suppliers have a brief opportunity to compete for an estimated $4 to 5 billion US of federally funded stimulus projects, representing less than 2% of the approximately $275 billion US of procurement funded under the Recovery Act. In return, Canada has guaranteed U.S. suppliers access to a range of provincial and municipal infrastructure spending projects until September 2011, estimated to be valued at more than $25 billion Cdn.

"Most significantly, Canada has bowed to U.S. pressure to permanently bind purchasing by Canadian provincial and municipal governments under the WTO agreement on Government Procurement," says Sinclair. "This proposed deal will prevent Canadian provincial and municipal governments from preferring local goods or suppliers while leaving Buy American policies almost fully intact."

"The Harper government has taken advantage of the economic crisis to justify what it has wanted for a long time-more private access to public sector resources and further restrictions on the ability of all levels of governments in Canada to negotiate local benefits when the procure goods and services." -30-

Buy American Basics is available on the CCPA website: http://policyalternatives.ca
For more information contact Kerri-Anne Finn, CCPA Senior Communications Officer, at 613-563-1341 x306.
Related Reports & Studies Buy American Basics February 9, 2010 | National Office
Read the full Report
= = = = =
[2] Buy American deal should be rejected
by Scott Sinclair CCPA National Office | Commentary and Fact Sheets
IFebruary 9, 2010
http://www.policyalternatives.ca/public ... ommentary/
buy-american-deal-should-be-rejected

Government ministers and Canadian trade officials have avoided saying just how much the tentative deal on Buy American preferences is worth to Canadian suppliers. As the details of the agreement begin to emerge, the reasons for this reticence are becoming clear.

The agreement gives Canada fleeting access to a sliver of the U.S. stimulus package. Canadian businesses will get to compete for $US 3- 4 billion worth of projects. This amounts to less than 2% of the $275 billion of procurement funded under the Recovery Act. The rest falls outside the scope of this agreement.

Over three-quarters of the stimulus funds have already been spent and the remainder must be allocated by February 17, though there may be subcontracts beyond that date. Given the late hour, and the fact that these projects have already been designed to comply with the Buy American provisions, Canadian suppliers can expect to see very little practical benefit from the deal announced last week.

In return for these meagre scraps, the provinces and municipalities have offered up temporary access to U.S. suppliers worth an estimated $CAD 25 billion. More ominously, Canada has bowed to U.S. pressure to permanently bind purchasing by Canadian provincial governments under the WTO Agreement on Government Procurement (the GPA).

Contrary to some reports, the deal does not even provide Canadian suppliers with the ability to compete for what´s left of the stimulus funds. The U.S. has only agreed to exempt Canada from Buy American preferences for the remaining projects under seven specific federally funded programs.

The negative effects on Canadians will far outweigh any small export boost that this agreement might provide. This is the first time that Canadian provincial procurement has been covered under an international trade deal. As trade officials have been exclaiming
south of the border, this opens up tens of billions of dollars annually to U.S. businesses.

Meanwhile, the U.S. has excluded its Buy American preference policies from its own WTO commitments. Most big-ticket items remain off-limits to Canadian suppliers.

The 37 states bound by the WTO agreement have numerous exemptions, such as purchases of motor vehicles, coal, printing and construction-grade steel. Federally funded mass transit and highway construction are fully excluded, as are public utilities. In addition, federal and state government laws commit upwards of 20 per cent of total
procurement to small and minority-owned American businesses. U.S. municipalities are not covered by its GPA commitments.

Despite the glaring defects, it is easy to understand why some would favour such a deal. For ideological reasons, the Harper government opposes the use of procurement as an economic development policy tool. They are happy to tie the hands of provincial and local governments even if Canada gets little in return.

It is harder to understand why provincial governments have gone along. Preferential government purchasing is becoming an important policy tool in Canada. In order to qualify for generous public subsidies, wind- and solar-energy producers in Quebec and Ontario must use local goods and services, creating green jobs while encouraging the local development of renewable energy technologies. Buy-local food policies are increasingly popular across the country, supporting local farmers while reducing greenhouse gases. Toronto's new subway cars are being manufactured in Northern Ontario, providing hundreds of high-skilled, well-paid jobs.
While these popular programs are not immediately threatened, provinces and municipalities are now on a slippery slope. Further negotiations with the U.S. and the European Union will mean more concessions and further restrictions on the use of public purchasing as a policy tool.

When they signed up to Ottawa´s negotiations last summer, the provinces were promised an exemption from U.S. Buy American laws. Predictably, this has failed to materialize. Through sleight of hand, and with Ottawa´s consent, Washington managed to pocket the provincial governments´ offers, while leaving the Buy American preferences almost fully intact.

It is not too late to reverse this course, as the tentative deal is contingent on approval in both countries. A strong case can be made for parliamentary scrutiny and approval. The federal opposition parties are already signalling that this is a bad deal. Provincial governments must also ensure that their citizens get a voice. With the details now emerging, it is clear that the deal is unfair and detrimental to Canadians and they should reject it.

Scott Sinclair is the director of the Trade and Investment Research Project at the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. His "Buy-American Basics" report is available at policyalternatives.ca.

= = = = = =
[3] Report: Buy American Basics by Scott Sinclair
National Office | Reports & Studies
February 9, 2010 Download Now 118 KB PDF | 10 pages
http://www.policyalternatives.ca/sites/ ... s/uploads/
publications/reports/docs/Buy_American_Basics.pdf 10 page report

Excerpt Pages 6-10 Spin vs. Reality

The Spin

The Harper government says this is a deal that shows Canada´s leadership in fighting protectionism in a time of global economic crisis.
The government also asserts that the deal will provide significant new market access to Canadian suppliers, although it refuses to provide any estimates of the value of these new opportunities.

The Reality: The Interim Arrangement

The interim arrangement, lasting until September 2011, is highly unbalanced. It provides significantly better access for U.S. suppliers to the Canadian procurement market than for Canadian suppliers to U.S. stimulus projects.

Most of the overall U.S. stimulus spending has already been allocated. As of December 31, 2009, $US 200 billion of contracts, loans, and grants (76%) under the Recovery Act had already been allocated. Today, the percentage of already allocated funds is even higher.

Under the interim arrangement, Canadian suppliers get the opportunity to bid on the remaining contracts under seven U.S. stimulus programs, administered by the U.S. federal departments of Energy, Housing and Urban Development, Transport and the Environmental Protection Agency. While spending under these seven programs totals $US 18 billion, over three-quarters of this money has already been awarded and the
remainder must be allocated by February 17.2 This means Canadian suppliers will have a brief opportunity to access approximately $US 4-5 billion in stimulus spending (although some sub-contracts will be awarded as the remaining stimulus projects proceed).

In return, Canada has guaranteed U.S. suppliers interim access to a range of provincial and municipal infrastructure spending projects until September 2011, when the U.S. stimulus package expires. U.S. suppliers will have an opportunity to bid on the full amount of these contracts right up until the September 2011 deadline.

Procurement by provincial and territorial governments and Canadian municipalities with a population over 50,000 is covered under the proposed interim arrangements.

A rough estimate of the value of this procurement is $CAD 25-30 billion. The Ontario government estimates that approximately $10 million of Ontario procurement is covered under the tentative deal.

(Since Ontario rep resents 37% of Canadian GDP, the total amount of Canadian procurement covered under the deal can be estimated at $27 billion.)

The Reality: The WTO GPA Commitments

Thirty-seven U.S., states have varying levels of commitments under the WTO Agreement on Government Procurement (GPA). U.S. municipal government procurement is not covered under the GPA. Until now, Canadian suppliers have not had the right to challenge decisions to exclude them from bidding on routine contracts tendered by the 37 U.S. states which have signed on to the GPA If Canada commits its provincial government procurement under the GPA, the U.S. will drop these restrictions only.

The U.S. has exceptions to its WTO GPA commitments that allow it to continue to apply buy-local procurement preferences including Buy America, small-business and minority set-asides and sectoral exclusions.
Under the deal just announced, the U.S. will not make any new GPA commitments at the sub-federal level or remove or dilute any of its exceptions or exclusions. Canadian suppliers will not have access to federally-funded mass transit, or highway construction projects, which the U.S. has exempted from its WTO commitments. Canadians cannot bid on public utility contracts, such as electricity or telecommunications. Canada will not have access to contracts by the 13 states which have made no commitments at the WTO.

Even in many of the 37 states that have signed on to the GPA, Canadian suppliers will not be allowed to supply construction-grade steel, vehicles, coal or printing services.

Canada will not have access to the 23% of U.S. federal procurement dollars set-aside for small businesses and minority-owned businesses.
Comparable programs at the state level are also exempted from the U.S. WTO GPA commitments. Municipal governments are not covered by U.S. GPA commitments and, except for the temporary arrangements discussed above, will not be required to consider bids from Canadian companies for infrastructure projects.

Municipal procurement funded by transfers from state or federal governments to U.S. municipalities is also excluded from the U.S. GPA commitments.

Canadian suppliers will be able to compete on U.S. state contracts on the same basis as other foreign suppliers from countries that have signed on to the GPA. But suppliers from these countries also face the same raft of Buy American preferences.

Canadian provincial governments have also excluded a range of procurement programs, entities (such as crown corporations) and sectors (such as renewable energy and mass transit) from Canada´s proposed GPA offer.

Reportedly, Canadian municipal government procurement will not be covered under the GPA offer. Initially, Canada´s new commitments under the GPA would only apply to American suppliers. But Canada will be expected, in due course, to make the same commitments available to suppliers from all WTO GPA signatories.

GPA rules prohibit governments from negotiating any form of local content, even if the procurement contract is open on a non-discriminatory basis to bidders from all WTO GPA member countries.

The Reality: Further Negotiations and Consultations

A key demand of Canadian governments when they first entered negotiations with the U.S. in the summer of 2009 was that any deal should protect Canada against Buy American rules in future U.S. legislation.

The just-announced deal fails to achieve this objective. Instead, it provides for a "fast-track consultation process" to alert the Canadian government to Buy American preferences in impending U.S. federal legislation.

Several pending U.S. bills, including the $US 100 billion "Jobs for Main Street" legislation, contain Buy American preferences. Other legislation now before the Congress would make it more difficult for the executive branch to grant waivers from Buy American rules to foreign suppliers, including Canadian ones. The tentative deal provides for future bilateral negotiations (to begin within one year) to negotiate additional government procurement commitments.

===========================

6. This agreement isn't worth the cost
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/opinions/
this-agreement-isnt-worth-the-cost/article1460624/

Jim Stanford
The impact of Buy American on our aggregate exports has been statistically invisible
From Tuesday's Globe and Mail Published on Monday, Feb. 08, 2010 6:43PM EST
Last updated on Tuesday, Feb. 09, 2010 9:02AM EST

It's a clear case of déjà vu all over again. Back in the '80s, Brian Mulroney raised the spectre of U.S. protectionism, then set out to win guaranteed access for our exports. He didn't succeed: We got a "dispute panel" system, instead, and even that doesn't work. But his government was publicly committed to guaranteed access, so Mr. Mulroney put a brave face on his 1988 deal - spinning it as essential insurance and worth the steep price (control over our energy).

The rest, of course, is history. From softwood to beef to steel, U.S. trade policy (driven by the nitty-gritty of U.S. politics) has been as active and arbitrary as ever. "Guaranteed access" was always a fiction. Now, instead of learning from that experience, we're seeing a near-exact reprise with last week's "agreement in principle" on government procurement.

The Harper government has been playing catch-up since the Buy American controversy blew up a year ago. Stephen Harper's stated goal, as it was for Mr. Mulroney in 1988, was to negotiate Canadian exemption from U.S. trade laws.

The talks dragged on, and now most of the Recovery Act money has been spent. But, as in 1988, the optics of coming home empty-handed were abhorrent. So negotiators unveiled a "breakthrough" last week: Canadian companies get a temporary right to bid on whatever contracts have not yet been finalized, but only for seven of the specific programs funded by the Recovery Act.

Based on U.S. Trade Representative data, those remaining contracts might total $4-billion to $5-billion worth of business, or half of 1 per cent of the total $800-billion Recovery Act budget. And there's no guarantee Canadian companies will win a dime of that business - especially since they're so late to the game.

What's the cost of this one-time access to the Recovery Act's crumbs?
Far too high. Through the World Trade Organization system, Canada opens up access to public purchasing in all provinces, and all cities with more than 50,000 inhabitants. Where the Buy American exemption is time-limited, Canada's offer is mostly permanent. Our provincial and municipal procurement is worth tens of billions of dollars every year - and this is the first time these immense purchases will be subject to the provisions of international trade law. Worse yet, we're doing this right when many struggling Canadian manufacturers - from public transit to pharmaceuticals to windmills - could benefit mightily from the strategic leveraging of a home-field advantage.

Perhaps the greatest irony is that the real macroeconomic impact of President Barack Obama's Buy American preferences on our actual exports has never been demonstrated. Canada's sales to Americans have been hammered, but by the recession, not by protectionism. Most recent statistics (covering the first 11 months of 2009) indicate that total Canadian exports to the United States declined by 30 per cent from the same period in 2008.

MORE:

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/opinions/
this-agreement-isnt-worth-the-cost/article1460624/


Jim Stanford is an economist with the Canadian Auto Workers union.

========================

7. More on the Canada-US procurement deal

From: <bpatterson@canadians.org>
Sent: Monday, February 08, 2010 6:55 AM

A few additional details are starting to emerge today about the Canada-US procurement deal announced on Friday.

The Toronto Star reports that, "Conservatives stressed potential long-term benefits of the latest trade deal with the United States amid a torrent of complaints that Prime Minister Stephen Harper has given away far too much for a very small exemption for Canadian companies frustrated by Buy America restrictions."

"In exchange for improved access to U.S. contracts at the state level, ...Canada is giving U.S. companies full access to bid on provincial and municipal infrastructure projects in this country until September 2011."

Additionally, as reported on Friday, "the provinces and territories will, for the first time, provide commitments under the World Trade Organization's Government Procurement Agreement..."

Signing the World Trade Organization Agreement on Government Procurement means, "Canadian provinces must (permanently) open their own markets to outside governments, both foreign and domestic, seeking to bid on provincial and municipal contracts."

"Trade Minister Peter Van Loan said on Friday that one of the big wins for Ottawa was a partial exemption that will allow Canadian firms to bid on some housing, energy and environmental infrastructure projects at the state level funded out of the $787 billion."

"But, behind the scenes, the U.S. is saying that most of the economic stimulus program is still not open to Canadians and the bulk of the funds have already been allocated. 'Of the entire $787 billion Recovery Act, this agreement gives Canada access to only seven programs that were funded by (the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act) at about $18 billion total; of that fraction, Canada can only access projects that are above $7.8 million in value, and of those, only projects for which contracts have not been awarded,' a U.S. trade spokesperson said in an email to a news agency."

And Toronto Star columnist Thomas Walkom adds that even if the US Congress passes another stimulus package with Buy American provisions, "Washington has agreed only to talk again."

The Star says, "The pact, considered the most important event in Canada-U.S. dealings since the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement, will have an impact on Canadian business opportunities, jobs and provincial government economic strategies for years to come."

"Van Loan said the agreement does not have to be approved by Parliament because it is not a 'major treaty' and its provisions apply mainly to provincial and territorial governments."

The Financial Post has reported that, "Canadian and US officials hope to have a final deal signed by February 16."

And the National Post has reported that,"The two sides have also agreed to continue negotiations on a broader deal governing procurement, which would go beyond what is contained in the rules established by the World Trade Organization."

To read a critique of the deal by Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow and trade campaigner Stuart Trew, please go to http://www.ottawacitizen.com/business/c ... this+deal/
2531335/story.html.

Brent Patterson
The Council of Canadians
www.canadians.org/campaignblog

============================

8. Urgent National Debate Needed on Harper Trade Deal

http://rabble.ca/blogs/bloggers/james-laxer/2010/02/
urgent-national-debate-needed-harper-trade-deal

Saturday, February 06, 2010

(This post appeared in the online edition of the Toronto Star.)

In the middle of a period of prorogation, when parliament is not sitting, the Harper government has sprung a sweeping new trade deal on Canadians. The agreement the Harper government has reached with the Obama administration is the most important extension of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) since that deal went into effect in 1994.

The Harper deal will allow Canadian companies to bid on many, but not all, of the contracts involving government funded economic stimulus projects in the U.S., which are restricted to U.S. companies under Buy American provisions that have been inserted into the U.S. government’s Recovery Act.

In return for this “concession” from Washington, Ottawa has agreed to pay an unacceptably high price. Under the deal, Canadian provinces and municipalities will permanently give up the right to favour local companies in awarding contracts. Government procurement at the municipal and provincial levels is an extremely important economic development tool, crucial for job creation, the encouragement of Canadian firms and the development of home-grown technology. At a time when cities are rebuilding their transit systems and are refitting homes to make them more energy efficient, it is the height of folly to open all these contracts to American bidders. (Given the multiplicity of measures used to protect them from outside bidders, it is foolish to imagine that Canadian firms will have an equal opportunity to bid on U.S. state and municipal contracts.)

What makes the Harper government’s deal particularly maddening is that the Buy American provisions in the U.S. Recovery Act violate the spirit if not the terms of NAFTA that guarantee the right of Canadian firms to bid on U.S. federal government projects with the exception of defence contracts. Instead of publicly and loudly asserting that Washington is violating NAFTA, the Harper government is bribing the Obama administration to stop doing that by opening up tens of billions of dollars worth of public contracts in Canada to American corporations.

Moreover, out of the total of $275 billion in infrastructure contracts to be awarded under the U.S. Recovery Act, $200 billion worth have already been signed. The rash deal Harper has made will open up only the last contracts to be awarded to Canadian firms, and at best, a small proportion of those. On top of that, the Obama administration has shifted gears toward fiscal restraint and plans to reign in further stimulus spending.

The Harper government is getting Canadian companies in on the tail end of a U.S. program in return for giving away a very important part of Canada’s ability to nurture Canadian firms and research and development at the provincial and municipal levels. This is an assault on what remains of Canadian economic sovereignty.

It is well known that the Harper government has been negotiating this deal with Washington since last September. Now the government has sprung it on the country when parliament is not sitting.

Expanding NAFTA, as this deal does, requires an open and wide-ranging national debate, both inside parliament and outside. A trade deal of this magnitude should only enter into force following a vote in parliament. (Debates are needed as well in provincial legislatures. Provincial governments should also not be permitted to agree to the deal without debate.)

In the national conversation that must begin, Canadians should examine where the global economy is headed in coming decades and how Canada’s economy can best fit into it so as to create the jobs and opportunities Canadians need. It should now be abundantly clear, as a consequence of the economic crisis through which we are passing that the United States is ensnared in a long-term struggle to cope with its international indebtedness and the indebtedness of its citizens. Whether American policy makers do a good or a poor job coping with the vast problems they face, the U.S. role in the global economy is diminishing and is bound to diminish further.

Canadians need to ask themselves whether this is the moment to put all our eggs in the American basket for the future.

The experience of the Buy American provisions in the Recovery Act ought to teach us something. Whenever the United States needs, in the pursuit of its own interests, to violate trade deals with Canada, it does so. It has done this for years on softwood lumber and now on the operations of the U.S. Recovery Act. Let’s now be fooled again.

Finally, it’s time for us to face up to the implications of allowing a secretive government to foreclose our options without us having a say in the matter.

posted by James Laxer @ 3:01 AM

===========================

9. Buy American 'deal' to be signed by February 16

From: <bpatterson@canadians.org>
Sent: Saturday, February 06, 2010 6:33 AM

The Financial Post reports today that, "Canadian and US officials hope to have a final deal signed by February 16."

The Toronto Star adds that, "The deal apparently does not have to be ratified by Parliament and the legislatures." It also notes, "More details on the deal are to be released next week."

SOLD A BILL OF GOODS

Columnist Thomas Walkom writes in the Toronto Star that, "In the newest Canada-US trade deal... Canadian exporters are being given partial access to Washington's Buy American program, which, unless it is extended, will end on February 17. ...To put it another way, we've promised to open our so-called sub-national government procurement markets permanently in exchange for partial access to a US program that is due to expire in 11 days."

"About $200 billion of the $275 billion in contracts authorized by the (US Recovery and Investment Act of 2009) have already been allocated."
He adds that even if the US Congress passes another stimulus package with Buy American provisions, "Washington has agreed only to talk again."

BUY AMERICAN DEAL PAVES WAY FOR EU TRADE PACT

The Globe and Mail reports that, "A Canada-US deal on Buy American trade restrictions opens the door for more sweeping liberalization of provincial and territorial procurement policies, including momentum for a proposed trade deal with the European Union."

"Under the deal announced Friday, the provinces and territories will, for the first time, provide commitments under the World Trade Organization's Government Procurement Agreement, to provide access to foreign companies for procurement markets - everything from construction contracts to managing health records."

"The European Union is keen to win access to the sub-national procurement markets as part of a Canada-EU agreement, particularly from provincial Crown agencies in health and energy sectors, (John Manley of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives) said."

But "under the trade deals, provinces and territories, as well as their municipalities and Crown corporations, will be locked into a market-based approach to procurement, at the expense of social, environmental and employment-related goals, said Maude Barlow, chairwoman of the Council of Canadians."

“'Canada has committed way more and in a more permanent way than it is getting in this deal,' she said. The sub-nation procurement market 'is the motherlode for corporations … and you can say bye to buy local.'"

A BROADER DEAL TO COME?

The National Post also reports that, "The two sides have also agreed to continue negotiations on a broader deal governing procurement, which would go beyond what is contained in the rules established by the World Trade Organization."

WEB-LINKS
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-o ... s/economy/
buy-american-deal-paves-way-for-eu-trade-pact/article1458062/

http://www.thestar.com/opinion/editorials/article/
761399---buy-america-questions

Brent Patterson
The Council of Canadians
www.canadians.org/campaignblog

==========================

10. 'Don’t celebrate this deal', say Barlow and Trew

From: <bpatterson@canadians.org>
Sent: Saturday, February 06, 2010 6:28 AM

Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow and trade campaigner Stuart Trew write in an op-ed in today's Ottawa Citizen that, "The Buy American breakthrough announced by the Harper government yesterday is anything but. Canadian companies have secured very little new access to U.S. public infrastructure spending and at a large cost to public policy space for Canadian provinces and cities. It is an ideological rather than an economic coup for a government whose real goals are weakening public services and reducing the role of government across the country."

They add, "Stephen Harper is trying to convince Canadians that by including the provinces in the World Trade Organization’s government procurement agreement, as trade minister Peter Van Loan announced yesterday, Canadian suppliers will get sweeping new access to contracts to which they were previously excluded by these Buy American conditions. Nothing could be further from the truth. A recent Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives report explains that this will not get Canadian businesses access to federally-funded mass transit or highway construction projects, which the U.S. has exempted from its WTO commitments. They cannot supply public utility services such as telecommunications, nor will they have access to contracts by the 13 states which have made no commitments at the WTO. Even in the 37 states that have signed on, the report states, Canadian suppliers will not be allowed to supply construction-grade steel, vehicles, coal, or printing. And municipal governments in the U.S. are exempt completely."

And with most of the stimulus money already allocated, "what is Harper playing at with this lopsided agreement? We believe the Buy American controversy provided Harper and the provinces, who are actively engaged in ambitious free-trade talks with Europe, with an opportunity to restructure the Canadian economy to reduce the role of our communities in setting spending priorities. Subnational procurement — public spending by our local governments and their utilities — represents up to $200 billion in Canada. Much of that goes toward services delivered publicly, such as water and electricity. Ceding control over how our governments spend public money makes it all the easier for companies to push privatization."

"Harper (has) negotiated a secret deal with the provinces and once again excluded Canadians from the debate. We should be outraged by this deal, not impressed."

"This deal is not a breakthrough, just another assault on democracy by the Harper government."

Their full op-ed can be read at http://www.ottawacitizen.com/business/c ... this+deal/
2531335/story.html.

Brent Patterson
The Council of Canadians
www.canadians.org/campaignblog

===========================

11. Deal easing Buy American policy comes at a price

http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/article/
761064--deal-easing-buy-american-policy-comes-at-a-price

February 05, 2010 Les Whittington

OTTAWA—The Conservative government today announced a tentative Canada-United States procurement deal intended to help Canadian companies get around the protectionist wall thrown up by recession-battered Americans.

But in exchange, Canada is giving American firms access to billions of dollars in contracts by provincial governments and, in some cases, municipalities, federal government officials said.

The long-sought compromise is an agreement in principle but Trade Minister Peter Van Loan said Ottawa fully expects the provinces to approve the deal and the U.S. government is committed to implementing its part of the agreement, which will not require approval from the U.S. Congress.

The deal with President Barack Obama’s administration will weaken the Buy America provisions that have kept Canadian exporters from bidding on hundreds of millions of dollars in economic stimulus projects south of the border.

However, government officials were unable to say how much business this break is likely to provide for Canadian companies hoping to supply construction materials and equipment for U.S. infrastructure projects.

Canadian industry spokespeople have warned that the agreement, which has been under negotiation since September, may be too late to provide much help. Of the promised $275 billion (U.S.) in infrastructure projects foreseen under Obama’s year-old American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, contracts worth $200 billion had already been handed out to American companies by the end of December, according to U.S. government reports.

Because of the Buy America provisions in the Recovery Act, Canadian suppliers had been kept out of state and local construction projects funded out of the $275 billion stimulus package. Canadian companies—particularly in Ontario and Quebec—have lost business, cut jobs or been forced to shift production to the U.S. to avoid the damaging protectionist barriers.

Under today’s agreement, states and local governments will no longer apply Buy America provisions to Canadian companies bidding on projects funded under the Recovery Act through several U.S. government departments, including energy, housing and the environmental protection agency. Canadian officials said this will provide significant new access for Canadian suppliers and manufacturers.

But the price for Canada is high. As part of the deal, Canadian provinces will permanently give up their highly-valued right to use government procurement (with some exceptions) to spur local economic growth by favouring homegrown goods and suppliers. The deal is likely to spark angry complaints that the Harper government gave away too much to reach a compromise with Washington.

In exchange for this concession, however, companies in Canada will have permanent access to procurement at the state level in the 37 U.S. states that are parties to the World Trade Organization (WTO) agreement on government procurement. Canadian officials said this will allow Canadian companies to bid on state government contracts in most of the economically important states south of the border.

At a press conference, Van Loan denied that the Harper government had given away too much for limited access to the American market. “Today’s agreement further strengthens the Canada-U.S. relationship to the benefit of Canadian workers and businesses,” he said. “We are able to resolve these challenges because of our strong and enduring continental friendship.”

Another aspect of the deal is an agreement to continue bilateral negotiations on expanding reciprocal access to the U.S. and Canadian markets in future, sources said.

Over the past year, the Canadian government and industry on both sides of the border have mounted an intensive campaign to remind U.S. lawmakers that Buy America provisions are damaging to American and Canadian companies because continental supply chains have become so intricately linked.

Last summer, municipal governments in Canada raised the spectre of “Buy Canadian” retaliation against American firms but they put that threat on the back burner once the Canada-U.S. negotiations began.

The Council of Canadians has convened a roundtable meeting of more than 25 organizations this morning in Ottawa to discuss ways to counter the Canada-European Union free trade agreement and Canada signing the WTO Agreement on Government Procurement.

Organizations participating at this roundtable include the Canadian Union of Public Employees, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, National Union of Public and General Employees, Canadian Energy and Paperworkers, Canadian Union of Postal Workers, Public Service Alliance of Canada, Canadian Auto Workers, CUPE Ontario, Canadian Council for the Arts, Canadian Biotechnology Action Network, Rideau Institute, and Common Frontiers.

Council of Canadians trade campaigner Stuart Trew is chairing today's meeting. Maude Barlow has just completed her presentation to the group. The CCPA's Scott Sinclair will be presenting shortly.
More to come.

Brent Patterson
The Council of Canadians
www.canadians.org/campaignblog

=========================

12. All provinces to sign the WTO Agreement on Government Procurement

From: <bpatterson@canadians.org>
Sent: Friday, February 05, 2010 6:45 AM

The Globe and Mail reports today that, "all 10 provinces have reportedly agreed to sign the WTO procurement agreement, which limits their ability to favour local businesses when awarding contracts."

Signing the World Trade Organization Agreement on Government Procurement means, "Canadian provinces must (permanently) open their own markets to outside governments, both foreign and domestic, seeking to bid on provincial and municipal contracts."

The 39 other signatories to this WTO agreement include Great Britain, France, Germany, Italy, China and Japan.

"In Ontario’s case, $10-billion worth of work will be open to all comers."
"The agreement will also unblock a major obstacle to a proposed trade agreement between Canada and the European Union. The EU enjoys internal free trade, and wants access to provincial as well as national markets."

US President Barack Obama had indicated that the signing of the WTO agreement would be one way for Canada to gain exemption from 'Buy American' provisions in US stimulus spending.

The CBC reports that, "The agreement (between Canada and the United States) applies only to U.S. funding delivered under the current stimulus program, not future legislation that might include 'Buy American'-type provisions."

CBC-TV reports that $199.3 billion of the original $275 billion available for infrastructure projects has already been allocated.

"(But) the Canadian government is arguing the deal sets a precedent for future stimulus spending in the U.S."

The Financial Post adds that, "The two sides are said to have agreed to continue negotiations on a broader procurement deal."

Details of the agreement are expected to be announced today at 8:00 am EST.

Brent Patterson
The Council of Canadians
www.canadians.org/campaignblog

=========================

13. Canada-US procurement deal said to be reached

From: Brent Patterson
Sent: Thursday, February 04, 2010 3:10 PM

The CBC is reporting this afternoon that, "Canadian companies will get access to funding from U.S. economic stimulus projects in 37 U.S. states under a deal to circumvent the protectionist 'Buy American' clause..."

THE DEAL

"The agreement applies only to U.S. funding delivered under the current stimulus program, not future legislation that might include 'Buy American'-type provisions. The U.S. money is allocated for roads, public housing and other infrastructure projects, the drawback being that most of the money has already been spent. ...The Canadian government is arguing the deal sets a precedent for future stimulus spending in the U.S. ...In return, Canadian provinces are to sign on to a World Trade Organization general procurement agreement, which will give the U.S. and other countries access to projects underway in Canada with federal stimulus spending."

The Toronto Star reports it as, "Sources said the agreement exempts Canadian firms from the protectionist measures on contracts funded from what hasn’t yet been spent from the $787 billion fund. And Canadian firms get a broader exemption from Buy America in the 37 U.S. states that are parties to the World Trade Agreement rules on procurement. In exchange, Canadian provincial and municipal governments will commit not to discriminate against U.S. firms when handing out contracts in this country."

The Globe and Mail adds, "The agreement is to some extent symbolic, since many of the contracts associated with the American economic stimulus program have already been let. But the agreement sets several vitally important precedents." The newspaper had reported on January 19 that, “As much as 40 per cent of the money from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act has already been spent. By Feb. 17, what’s left will be committed and on its way out the door.”

INTERNAL TRADE IN CANADA

The Globe and Mail highlights that, “The agreement will, Canadian officials hope, lead to more comprehensive talks on a continental government procurement agreement that would guarantee access to all markets for all government-awarded contracts. The provinces agreement to sign the WTO government procurement agreement will reduce a major obstacle to internal protectionism, in which provincial governments banned out-of-province firms from bidding on provincial and municipal contracts. The represents a major step toward a truly Canadian economic union.”

CANADA-EU DEAL

The newspaper adds, “And the increased openness of the provincial markets will promote negotiations with the European Union for a trade agreement. EU officials considered internal protectionism a major obstacle to an agreement."

TIMING OF THE ANNOUNCEMENT

The CBC notes, "The breakthrough in negotiations between Washington and Ottawa might not be announced until tomorrow..."

THE COUNCIL OF CANADIANS

We will be responding to this news shortly via a media release.

WEB-LINKS

The CBC report is at http://www.cbc.ca/politics/story/
2010/02/04/buy-american-deal-agreement.html.

The Globe and Mail report is at
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-o ... s/economy/
canadian-companies-poised-to-win-exemption-from-buy-american/article1456109/.

The Toronto Star report is at
http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/art
Oscar
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Posts: 8381
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Buy America provisions give away Canadian farm for little re

Postby Oscar » Sun Feb 14, 2010 9:42 pm

Buy America provisions give away Canadian farm for little return

http://www.publicvalues.ca/ViewArticle.cfm?Ref=00574

Public services previously excluded from NAFTA now on the table with new deal.

A new trade agreement between Canada and the United States opens the door for American companies but does nothing to counter the "Buy America" policy south of the border.

Both the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) and The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) have come out with statements: "The new trade agreement forged by Canada and the United States as a way to side-step U.S. 'Buy America' provisions amounts to Canada giving away the farm for very little in return," says CUPE National President Paul Moist. "This agreement is certainly good news for American corporate interests, but there is very little assurance that this agreement will create good jobs for Canadians."

"The agreement is highly unbalanced and provides significantly better access for U.S. suppliers to the Canadian procurement market than for Canadian suppliers to U.S. stimulus projects," says senior CCPA trade researcher Scott Sinclair.

According to the analysis, Canadian suppliers have a brief opportunity to compete for an estimated $4 to 5 billion US of federally funded stimulus projects, representing less than 2 per cent of the approximately $275 billion US of procurement funded under the Recovery Act. In return, Canada has guaranteed U.S. suppliers access to a range of provincial and municipal infrastructure spending projects until September 2011, estimated to be valued at more than $25 billion CDN.

"Most significantly, Canada has bowed to U.S. pressure to permanently bind purchasing by Canadian provincial and municipal governments under the WTO agreement on Government Procurement," says Sinclair. "This proposed deal will prevent Canadian provincial and municipal governments from preferring local goods or suppliers while leaving Buy American policies almost fully intact."

"The Harper government has taken advantage of the economic crisis to justify what it has wanted for a long time more private access to public sector resources and further restrictions on the ability of all levels of governments in Canada to negotiate local benefits when the procure goods and services."

With the bulk of U.S. stimulus money already spent, the deal does very little to resolve the issue that started the dispute, specifically, that Canada could not profit from U.S. stimulus dollars. However, the new agreement will leave the "Buy America" provisions basically intact, and only applies to the 37 states that have signed on to the World Trade Organization (WTO) Government Procurement Agreement (GPA).

Meanwhile, under WTO rules provinces and municipalities will lose an important policy tool in the form of local purchasing power.

"Buy local policies are good for the environment and for Canadian businesses, and they keep jobs and tax revenues in the community. Why the Harper government would enter Canada into such an uneven deal for Canada is baffling," said Moist.

The agreement may also open the floodgates to increased privatization of public services such as water and hydro. While provincial and municipal procurement was previously excluded from NAFTA, now U.S. investors will be able to launch Chapter 11 investor rights challenges if they feel provinces or municipalities are taking policy actions that harm their interests.

"This deal commits Canadian governments to forfeit valuable procurement sovereignty, while the U.S. offer is largely empty. This kind of risk is the last thing we need during an economic slowdown. Our government needs to look at improving its own record of research, development and innovation, instead of selling our provinces and municipalities short."

Links and sources
Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives - Buy American Basics study:

http://www.policyalternatives.ca/public ... can-basics

Posted: February 12, 2010
Public Values (PublicValues.ca) is a project of the Golden Lake Institute and the online publication StraightGoods.ca
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Letter: Arney: Buy American

Postby Oscar » Sun Mar 21, 2010 4:43 pm

Buy American

From: Jeremy Arney
Cc: Flaherty Jim ; Day, Stockwell ; Ignatieff Michael ; Layton Jack ; Savoie, Denise ; Martin, Keith ; Duceppe Gilles
Sent: Monday, February 02, 2009 8:17 AM
Subject: Buy American

Dear Editor,

Item from Canwest News 1st February 2009: Canada may avoid 'buy American' rule.

http://www.timescolonist.com/Business/C ... ican+rule/
1241491/story.html

Maybe instead of complaining that we are being hurt by the Americans wanting to rebuild their steel and iron manufacturing, Stockwell Day and Jim Flaherty (which really means Harper) should be doing the same thing with our manufacturing sector.

Don't buy things from the USA like planes for the rescue service and trucks for the army when we can perfectly well make them here more economically and using Canadian parts and labour.

I have almost given up hope that this government will do anything for the Canadian people and the Liberals are, as usual, right behind them.

Those ridiculous tax breaks have no strings attached saying "buy Canadian" and create Canadian jobs and IF we are going to see any money spent on "infrastructure", it will probably only be to employ French, Spanish or Italian consortium construction companies anyway for the roads and bridges. . . and are they planning on buying American steel too?

"Nothing is going to change in our present trading relationship within NAFTA with the United States " said Day. Oh really Mr. Day? So why are you making a big deal of it now as we are being screwed by NAFTA anyway?

Please - no more trade deals as we have so little left to give away.

What is the matter with these people?

Perhaps Flaherty and Day (again that means Harper) should consider that their government has caused a huge problem here which we need to mend ourselves, and not have to rely on another country to bail us out. If that means being protectionist, so be it.

This government should stop making excuses and complaining, and get on with the job they claim we gave them and are definitely paying them to do.

Jeremy Arney
Victoria BC

If you don't like what you see or hear do something about it instead of complaining.
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