American protectionism hurting Canadian manufacturers
By Mary Del
The U.S. House of Representatives has passed a bill – H.R. 5320, the Assistance, Quality and Affordability Act of 2010 – that includes a "Buy American" provision, which will prevent Canadian manufacturers from bidding on U.S. water and wastewater projects.
"Passage of H.R. 5320 by the U.S. House of Representatives represents another roadblock to our water and wastewater manufacturing sector, both in Canada and the U.S.," says Jayson Myers, president and CEO, Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters. "This vote also indicates that the pull of protectionism south of our border remains all too attractive to many members of Congress. Ottawa and Washington must show leadership."
H.R. 5320 authorizes appropriations totalling nearly $5 billion US over the next three years to capitalize state programs to fund community water infrastructure projects, and an additional $100 million US over five years to provide grants for small public water systems in the U.S. to cover the cost of complying with drinking water regulations. The bill includes a "Buy American" provision similar to the one adopted last year in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The Senate must now approve their version of a similar funding bill.
In 2008 alone, Canada and the U.S. sent more than $10 billion of components and parts across our border.
"Given the enormous demands and anticipated investments in this sector in both countries in the years to come, the marketplace must see certainty, transparency and reciprocity," states Myers. "We must develop a bilateral water and wastewater procurement agreement, and negotiations need to begin before Congress returns from its summer recess."