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 markets. U.S. suppliers also will have access to construction contracts through September 2011 in a number of Canadian provinces and territories not covered by the GPA. In exchange, the U.S. will allow Canada access to 37 states covered by the GPA and access for suppliers to a limited number of ARRA-funded programs.