FCM Suspends Buy American Deadline

OTTAWA, Oct. 3 /CNW Telbec/ - The president of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM), Mayor Basil Stewart of Summerside, P.E.I., announced today that FCM is suspending its October 4 deadline on a fair trade resolution that supported efforts to overturn "Buy American" provisions in U.S. federal stimulus programs.

FCM members adopted the resolution, brought forward by the Town of Halton Hills, Ont., on June 6, 2009. At the time the resolution was passed, FCM stated that if an agreement was not reached between the Canadian and U.S. governments within 120 days on the "Buy American" provisions, FCM would support municipalities who chose to stop purchasing goods and services from the U.S.

"We are encouraged by the talks now underway between Canadian and U.S. officials, and want to give them the time and space to reach a successful outcome," said Stewart. "These talks can and should lead to a fair and mutually beneficial agreement between Canada and its most important trading partner. If progress stalls, we will revisit our deadline and how best to protect the interests of Canadians and their communities."

He noted that it was municipal action that made the "Buy American" issue a national priority, and called on all three orders of government to continue to support federal representatives as they work toward an agreement that protects national interests.

"Our only goal throughout this process has been to ensure fair trade for Canadians. FCM will continue to consult with the federal government and monitor this issue closely," said Stewart.

About FCM

The Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) has been the national voice of municipal government since 1901. With more than 1,800 members, FCM represents the interests of municipalities on policy and program matters that fall within federal jurisdiction. Members include Canada's largest cities, small urban and rural communities, and 18 provincial and territorial municipal associations.

    
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    Statement by Federation of Canadian Municipalities' (FCM) President
    Basil Stewart, Mayor of Summerside, P.E.I., on the suspension of FCM's
                           "Buy American" deadline

                           Ottawa, October 3, 2009
    

"On June 6, 2009, members of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) passed a resolution calling on the governments of Canada and the United States to negotiate an agreement that would exempt Canadian-based companies from "Buy American" provisions in the U.S. stimulus package. If an agreement was not reached within 120 days - ending October 4, 2009 - FCM would support municipalities who chose to stop purchasing goods and services from the U.S.

Today I am announcing that FCM has suspended its October 4 deadline. We are encouraged by the talks now underway between Canadian and U.S. officials, and want to give them the time and space to reach a successful outcome. These talks can and should lead to a fair and mutually-beneficial agreement between Canada and its most important trading partner. If progress stalls, we will revisit our deadline and how best to protect the interests of Canadians and their communities.

Municipalities have put the Buy American issue at the top of Canada's political agenda, driven public awareness and media engagement on both sides of the border, and prompted decisive action by the Government of Canada. We have exposed a policy that is hurting Canadians - and an economy - reeling from the global recession, and we have set the stage for a negotiated solution.

Over the past four months, federal, provincial-territorial and municipal governments have come together to press for a solution. As talks continue, it is important that all three orders of government stay united and support our federal representatives as they work toward an agreement that protects our national interests.

It was municipal action that made this issue a national priority and fuelled efforts to address it. Turning the progress we have achieved into a positive solution is now rightly in the hands of the federal government. It is federal officials who have submitted a proposal to Washington, D.C., and it is federal officials who are sitting at the negotiating table with their American counterparts.

We cannot know exactly when a solution will be reached, but talks must continue moving toward a successful outcome. Canadian communities, businesses and workers need to know there is light at the end of this tunnel.

Our only goal throughout this process has been to ensure fair trade for Canadians. FCM will continue to consult with the federal government and monitor this issue closely."

SOURCE Federation of Canadian Municipalities

For further information: For further information: Maurice Gingues at (613) 907-6395 or mgingues@fcm.ca

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Federation of Canadian Municipalities

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