Criticism of “Buy American” provisions within the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is intensifying in the U.S. and Canada. Canadian companies say they’re being hurt, and U.S. business interests worry Canada could impose retaliatory restrictions. The focus is ARRA’s estimated $280 billion, which states and localities administer, including billions of dollars for water and wastewater facilities and other infrastructure projects.
The issue has reached Cabinet levels. At a joint press conference on June 13, Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon said, “People are worried about a rising tide of protectionism developing in the United States...and our government is very concerned, in particular, about the negative impacts of Buy America legislation being felt on Canadian businesses.” Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton responded that the provision “is not being enforced in any way that is inconsistent with our international trade obligations.” But she added she is “well aware of the concerns” over trade matters.