Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters

Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters

June 22, 2009 15:13 ET

CME Calls on White House to Avoid Buy American Protectionism

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - June 22, 2009) - The Obama Administration should exempt state and local governments from restrictive Buy American procurement requirements now appearing in US federal legislation, according to Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters.

In a letter sent today to the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB), CME noted that the unintended consequences of the Buy American provisions contained in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act signed into law by President Obama in February "present adverse consequences that companies can ill afford in these times of economic turmoil. It should not go unnoticed that the interim guidelines have directly harmed US suppliers of Canadian manufacturers when these latter companies are told they cannot participate in state and local projects funded by the US federal government and therefore have cancelled contracts for materials and components from US-based suppliers. We are very concerned that a retaliatory backlash in Canada and other countries could inflict serious harm to American and Canadian manufacturers alike."

"The OMB has the regulatory authority to waive Buy American restrictions when they are inconsistent with the public interest," says CME President & CEO Jayson Myers. "Clearly, the loss of US jobs and the disruption of a highly competitive manufacturing base in North America are not in the public interest, in Canada or in the US. We are urging the White House to keep our procurement markets open and enhance new business opportunities in these troubling times."

Earlier this month Myers wrote to Prime Minister Stephen Harper urging the Canadian government to work with the provincial premiers to negotiate a more open procurement agreement with the US.

"We believe that there is a significant opportunity to improve upon existing trade agreements and have been encouraged by the willingness of the Canadian and provincial governments to propose the negotiation of a more open procurement agreement between our two countries covering federal, state/provincial and local authorities," Myers states in CME's letter to the OMB. "American jobs are being lost by Buy American as Canadian companies see business in the US disappear. More jobs will be lost if our two countries do not act quickly."

"If Canada and the US, the world's two largest trading partners, cannot avoid imposing restrictions on our bilateral trade, then it is difficult to see how the global economy can avoid falling into a vicious circle of protectionism."

Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters is Canada's leading trade and industry association and the voice of manufacturing and global business in Canada.

The association represents more than 10,000 companies in Canada, many of which have extensive operations in the US. More than 85% of CME's members and their US entities are small and medium-sized enterprises engaged in manufacturing, global business and service-related industries.

CME's membership network accounts for an estimated 82% of total manufacturing production and 90% of Canada's exports.

Contact Information

  • CME
    Jeff Brownlee
    VP of Public Affairs
    613-238-8888 ext. 4233