The U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement suddenly finds itself in the spotlight in the United States, in a May 28, 2020 story. (Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)

The U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement suddenly finds itself in the spotlight in the United States, in a May 28, 2020 story. (Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)

If Canada can survive four years of Trump, it can navigate the new Buy American: PM

Trudeau says it’s worth remembering that Canada survived Donald Trump’s persistent attacks on NAFTA

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says after the last four years, he’s confident Canada can safely navigate the perils of Joe Biden’s new protectionist Buy American regime.

Trudeau says it’s worth remembering that Canada survived former president Donald Trump’s persistent attacks on NAFTA and Canadian steel and aluminum exporters.

And he says his federal Liberal government is far more closely aligned with the current White House than it ever was with Biden’s “extremely protectionist” predecessor.

But Trudeau refused to say if Canada faces a tougher fight than in 2010, when it secured an exception to then-president Barack Obama’s version of similar procurement rules.

Conservative MP Tracy Gray, the party’s international trade critic, says Biden’s plan to prioritize U.S. suppliers will jeopardize North America’s economic recovery.

READ MORE: Opposition urges Liberal government to push back against Biden’s Buy American plan

Gray says she plans to press Trudeau in the House of Commons to push back hard on the U.S., especially after last week’s Day 1 decision to cancel the Keystone XL pipeline expansion.

“Over the past four years, we faced an American administration that was both unpredictable and extremely protectionist, and we were able every step of the way to stand up for Canadian interests,” Trudeau said.

“We were there to be able to advocate for Canada’s interests, and I can tell you we will continue to be effective in advocating for Canada’s interests with this new administration.”

The latest 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On his first day in the White House, Biden rescinded the presidential permit for Keystone XL, a controversial cross-border link between the Alberta oilsands and refineries and ports on the U.S. Gulf Coast.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 Monday, 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 — for example, when there’s an overwhelming national security, humanitarian or emergency need here in America,” Biden said.

“This hasn’t happened before. It will happen now.”

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

COVID
Red Deer down to 313 active cases of COVID-19

Alberta reports an additional 411 COVID-19 cases

Seniors in the 65-unit Piper Creek Lodge are among those waiting for COVID-19 vaccinations. (File photo by Advocate staff)
Central Alberta senior lodges anxiously waiting for COVID-19 vaccinations

“Should be at the front of the line, not the back of the line”

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Alex Panetta
Economists “cautiously hopeful” for economic recovery in Alberta

Charles St. Arnaud says Alberta’s recovery will rebound along with roll-out of the COVID-19 vaccine

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw acknowledged that Friday would be one year since the first case of COVID-19 was identified in the province. (photography by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
Three more Red Deer COVID-19 deaths, 331 active cases in Alberta

Red Deer is down to 362 active cases of the virus

Caitlin Kraft, the sister of Jeffery Kraft, stands third from the left, holding a sign calling for the maximum sentence for Campbell, who is charged with manslaughter. (Photo by Paul Cowley)
UPDATED: Judge again rejects submission of 7-year sentence for slaying of Kraft

Tyler John Campbell charged with second-degree murder for December 2019 homicide

Supporters rally outside court as Pastor James Coates of GraceLife Church is in court to appeal bail conditions, after he was arrested for holding day services in violation of COVID-19 rules, in Edmonton, Alta., on Thursday March 4, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
‘Law remains valid:’ Pastor accused of violating health orders to remain in jail

The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms is representing the pastor

A decommissioned pumpjack is shown at a well head on an oil and gas installation near Cremona, Alta., Saturday, Oct. 29, 2016. The Alberta Energy Regulator says it is suspending all of the licences held by an oil and gas producer with more than 2,200 wells and 2,100 pipelines after it failed to bring its operations into compliance. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Alberta Energy Regulator suspends licences of oil and gas producer that owes $67M

The company is being asked to comply with past orders to clean up historic spills and contamination

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau holds a press conference in Ottawa Friday, March 5, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Trudeau holds firm on premiers’ health-care funding demands, COVID-19 aid comes first

Premiers argue that the current amount doesn’t keep pace with yearly cost increases of about five per cent

Pictured here is Stettler’s Jenner Smith with a guide dog from Aspen Service Dogs. An online auction will be running soon to help raise funds for Jenner to receive his very own service dog later this year. Jenner, who is four years old, was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder in 2019. photo submitted
An online auction is planned to raise funds for a service dog for a Stettler family

Jenner Smith, four, was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder in 2019

Walter Gretzky father of hockey hall-of-famer Wayne Gretzky waves to fans as the Buffalo Sabres play against the Toronto Maple Leafs during third period NHL hockey action in Toronto on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky, father of the Great One, dies at 82

Canada’s hockey dad had battled Parkinson’s disease and other health issues

This Dec. 2, 2020 photo provided by Johnson & Johnson shows vials of its Janssen subsidiary’s COVID-19 vaccine in the United States. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Johnson & Johnson via AP
Canada approves Johnson & Johnson’s 1-shot COVID-19 vaccine

It is the 4th vaccine approved in Canada and the 1st that requires just a single dose

(AP Photo/Richard Vogel, File)
Pandemic stress, isolation key factors as to why Canadians turned to cannabis, alcohol

Study found that isolation played key role in Canadians’ substance use

Most Read