Canadian Manufacturers Predict ‘Tough Sledge’ as Biden Signs Purchase Order in US

CALGARY – The head of Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters has said he expects members to struggle to hang around after US President Joe Biden ordered tougher Buy American rules for government spending.

President and CEO Dennis Darby said the ordinance affects any project involving federal spending or jurisdiction and therefore could limit the ability of Canadians to bid on billions of dollars in contracts involving everything from systems to public transport to municipal sewerage works.

He says this will make it more attractive for a Canadian company interested in expanding to do so in the United States so that its products and services are considered American, especially if the government is supposed to be a major customer.

Darby asserts that Canada and the United States have highly integrated supply chains, which can be disrupted by such protectionist trade policies.

He calls on Ottawa to continue to push for the United States to take a more “Buy North America” stance in government markets.

“Canada is not the bad actor who might be dumping products through unfair trade practices,” said Darby.

“It’s a tough start, as you know, but I think it’s up to (the industry) and the government to make this case with the United States.”

Biden’s order would change the rules of the existing Buy American program, making it more difficult for entrepreneurs to qualify for a waiver and sell foreign-made products to federal agencies.

It also changes the rules so that more of the components in a manufactured product must come from US factories. Products made in the United States would also be protected by an increase in the government’s price threshold and preferences, the price difference above which the government can buy a foreign product.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on January 25, 2021.