(The Toronto Star – Les Whittington)
The latest outbreak of protectionism from the United States government flies in the face of Ottawa’s much-touted effort to work with Washington to ease trade restrictions along the border, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce says.
“It’s of considerable concern to us,” Chamber president Perrin Beatty told the Toronto Star. “The timing is, of course, terrible in that it contaminates the discussions on how we can make the border function more effectively.
Speaking of the new border deal about to be announced by Prime Minister Stephen Harper and President Barack Obama, Beatty said, “The whole point of the exercise was to look at how we can enhance trade rather than putting impediments in the way.”
The fresh threat of trade war between the Harper government and the White House stems from the $447-billion (U.S.) jobs legislation announced by Obama last week. It includes Buy American provisions that could exclude Canadian companies from bidding on billions of dollars worth of economic stimulus projects south of the border.
The move, which caught the Canadian government off guard, comes as Washington and Ottawa are in the final stages of negotiations over an historic bilateral pact meant to streamline border operations and enhance security and intelligence cooperation by the two governments. David Jacobson, the U.S. ambassador to Canada, says the deal may be announced by Harper and Obama in several weeks. Read more here.
Date: September 19, 2011