The United States and Canada signed a trade agreement on Feb. 12 that seeks to address concerns over “Buy American” provisions of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act as well as other long-standing procurement issues between the two nations. U.S. Trade Rep. Ron Kirk says that the deal will result in “tens of billions of dollars” in new job-supporting contracts for U.S. firms. “For years, U.S. firms have sought market access to Canadian provincial procurement under the World Trade Organization Government Procurement Agreement [GPA], which Canada resisted,” Kirk adds. The pact provides permanent U.S. access to Canadian provincial and territorial
The market is generally healthy and steadily growing, and margins are up for large specialty contractors. Further, advances in design tools and owner demand for collaboration are giving subcontractors a seat at the table early on in projects.