New 'Buy American' trade deal still favours U.S. | National Union of Public and General Employees

New 'Buy American' trade deal still favours U.S.

CCPA says ongoing negotiations are heading for a deal in which Canada would surrender provincial and municipal sovereignty.

Ottawa (17 Nov. 2009) - Ongoing negotiations between Ottawa and Washington over 'Buy American' laws may take away provincial and municipal procurement sovereignty, says a new study by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA).

CCPA trade researcher Scott Sinclair says the agreement now in the works would leave policies intact while permanently binding Canadian provincial and municipal governments under World Trade Organization (WTO) Government Procurement rules that could prevent them from preferring local goods or suppliers.

“This is not a loss that should be taken lightly,” Sinclair argues. “Preferential government purchasing is an important policy tool in Canada. For example, contracting policies that give preference to Canadian suppliers, buy-local food policies, centralized purchasing of pharmaceuticals and many other beneficial procurement policies would be at risk under this deal.”

Even if Canada fully signed on to the WTO Agreement on Government Procurement, Canadian suppliers would remain excluded from the bulk of U.S. sub-federal, stimulus funded projects. However, such a deal would permanently bind Canadian provincial and local governments under WTO rules, severely curtailing their use of government procurement as a policy tool.

“The real question is why would Canada agree to such an unbalanced deal?” Sinclair asks. “There is virtually no chance that Washington will agree either to scrap the 'Buy American' rules or to exempt Canadian suppliers from them.”

The CCPA report says Canadian governments should emulate what is best in U.S. purchasing policies and employ them to benefit Canadians.


The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE

More information:
Buy American Sell-out - Giving away Canadian procurement sovereignty - pdf

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