Steelworkers Welcome Bilateral Response to Buy American

TORONTO, Feb. 5 /CNW/ - The United Steelworkers union (USW) welcomes the initiative announced today to exempt Canadian products from Buy American requirements.

"Canada and the U.S. have a strong economic and trade relationship. Enhancing that bilateral relationship in a way that benefits working people in both countries has always been a goal of the United Steelworkers," said Leo Gerard, International President of USW.

The agreement should allow Canadian companies to bid on U.S. infrastructure projects financed under the $787-billion American economic stimulus package. As well, American companies will have enhanced access to Canadian infrastructure projects.

"Since new Buy American requirements were added to the American Recovery Act, USW has urged the Canadian and American governments to negotiate an exemption for Canadian manufacturers," said Ken Neumann, USW National Director for Canada.

"To the extent that this deal does enhance the bilateral trade relationship, workers in both countries - our members - should benefit from increased job opportunities. At this time of continuing economic crisis, that's important," Neumann said.

The agreement entails bilateral commitments through the WTO's Government Procurement Agreement (GPA). Canadian officials have assured us that this approach will not open provincial procurement to suppliers from other nations that have signed the GPA. Similarly, U.S. commitments to Canada will not be unilaterally provided to other nations. We are pleased that the agreement is limited to the balanced and mutually beneficial trade between our two countries.

SOURCE United Steelworkers (USW)

For further information: For further information: Ken Neumann, USW National Director for Canada, (416) 487-1571; Ken Delaney, Assistance to the National Director for Canada, USW, (416) 544-5952

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