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Biden vows to work with Canada on ‘Buy American’ policy, but offers no guarantees

EDMONTON — U.S. President Joe Biden vowed to work with Canada in relation to his “Buy American” policy, which would tighten existing rules on government procurement by guaranteeing contracts to U.S. companies, during his call with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau last week.

According to Foreign Affairs Minister Marc Garneau, Biden acknowledged the deep supply chain connections between the Canadian and the U.S. economies, but fell short of guaranteeing that Canada wouldn’t be shut out from bidding on large U.S. projects.

“We voiced our concerns with respect to that, because we have a very good trade deal with them, very integrated supply chains, and that this could possibly have some effects on Canada,” Garneau told CTV’s Question Period Sunday.

“President Biden indicated that he was very sensitive to that and that the two countries would stay in touch, so that there wouldn’t be any unintended consequences with respect to our very strong and integrated supply chains.”

Manufacturers and exporters in Canada supply a vast range of equipment to public works projects in the U.S., but Biden’s promise to prioritize U.S.-based suppliers and products made on American soil would stop Canadian companies from bidding for work.

“Our objective is to make sure that our neighbours to the south understand how tightly integrated our economies are,” Garneau replied when asked whether Canada can expect an exemption from the plan, expected to be unveiled Monday.

“Some of the things we send to them already have American products in it, that’s how tightly integrated our supply chains are and we will convey those messages on a continuous basis.”

During the call, Biden’s first to a foreign leader as president, Trudeau expressed Canada’s “disappointment” with the decision to cancel the Keystone XL pipeline by revoking its permit.

Biden acknowledged the difficulties it has caused, a project he opposed during his campaign and his term as vice-president to president Barack Obama, who blocked the project in 2015.

Biden and Trudeau have agreed to meet next month, although it’s not clear given the circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic what form that meeting would take.

References: CTV News

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