The Daily Courier

Opposition urges Liberal pushback against Biden’s Buy American plan


DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA — The Opposition Conservati­ves are urging the federal government to push back on President Joe Biden’s protection­ist Buy American plan.

B.C. MP Tracy Gray, the party’s internatio­nal trade critic, says expression­s of disappoint­ment won’t get the job done.

Gray says Biden’s plan to prioritize U.S. suppliers for government contracts will jeopardize North America’s economic recovery.

The Conservati­ves were in power in 2010 when Canada successful­ly won waivers to similar rules imposed by former president Barack Obama.

Biden’s Buy American strategy is the second potential blow to Canada’s economic fortunes to land in less than a week.

On his first day in the White

House, the president cancelled the cross-border Keystone XL pipeline project between the Alberta oilsands and refineries on the U.S. Gulf Coast.

“Expressing concern and disappoint­ment on important issues to Canadian businesses and workers is simply not enough,” Gray said in a statement.

“Canada and U.S. trade are closely tied — but this Buy American plan puts our mutual economic recovery at risk.”

In announcing the new rules, Biden warned that waivers would be granted only under “very limited circumstan­ces.”

The aim of the policy, a cornerston­e of Biden’s successful election campaign, was to win over the same protection­ist blue-collar workers who helped elect Donald Trump in 2016.

The idea is to make sure

American manufactur­ers, workers and suppliers reap the rewards of U.S. government spending, including an estimated $600 billion a year in procuremen­t contracts.

Monday’s executive order will set a higher threshold for what qualifies as U.S.-made, establish more stringent oversight tools and enforce the rules more rigidly.

It also sets up a “Made in America” office attached to the White House to police the use of waivers — the exceptions that allow Canadian contractor­s, manufactur­ers and suppliers access to a lucrative and often essential source of business.

That office will “review waivers to make sure they are only used in very limited circumstan­ces,” Biden said.

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