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On his first day in the White House, Biden rescinded the presidential permit for Keystone XL, a controversial cross-border link between the Alberta oilsands and refineries and ports on the U.S. Gulf Coast.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

File photo
Alberta’s central zone has 670 active cases

301 new cases identified Sunday

Alberta has 1,910 active cases of COVID-19 as of Wednesday. Red Deer is reporting five active cases, with 108 recovered. (File photo)
Red Deer reports 25th COVID-19 death

415 new cases identified provincially Saturday

4-H Alberta Logo
Rimbey 4-H Club holds virtual public speaking event

Club members submitted their speeches and performances in video format for judging this year.

Alberta Health reported two new COVID-19 deaths in Red Deer Friday. (Image courtesy CDC)
Two more deaths linked to Olymel outbreak in Red Deer

Province reported 356 additional COVID-19 cases Friday

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney speaks during a news conference in Edmonton on Feb. 24, 2020. It’s budget day in the province, and Kenney’s United Conservative government is promising more help in the fight against COVID, but more red ink on the bottom line. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta’s budget promises more help for COVID-19 with a hard deficit

Annual spending on debt interest is closing in on $3 billion

People line up outside a vaccine clinic as seniors wait to get the COVID-19 vaccine in Edmonton Alta, on Friday February 26, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta Health Services head sorry for glitches in vaccine booking system for seniors

AHS president said technical issues have been fixed and a virtual waiting room is in place

Vandalism is shown on Alberta NDP MLA Janis Irwin’s constituency office in Edmonton in this handout photo on Saturday, February 27, 2021. Alberta Premier Jason Kenney quickly condemned vandalism at an Opposition legislature member Janis Irwin’s Edmonton office after the MLA posted pictures showing her front window spray-painted with the words “Antifa Liar.” THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Janis Irwin *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Alberta Premier slams vandalism after slur painted on MLA’s office window

Edmonton MLA Janis Irwin posted pictures showing the front window spray-painted with the words ‘Antifa Liar’

A helicopter flies past a mountain near McBride, B.C., on Saturday January 30, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Avalanche warning for backcountry users in North and South Rockies

Avalanche Canada is urging backcountry users to always check their regional avalanche forecasts

Supporters pray outside court in Stony Plain, Alta., on Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021, as a trial date was set for Pastor James Coates of GraceLife Church. He is charged with holding Sunday services in violation of Alberta’s COVID-19 rules and with breaking conditions of his bail release. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Trial date for jailed Alberta pastor charged with breaking COVID-19 health orders

The court says it will reconvene with lawyers on March 5 for a case management plan by teleconference

A pharmacist prepares a COVID-19 vaccine at Village Green Retirement Campus in Federal Way on Jan. 26. (Olivia Sullivan/Sound Publishing)
Canada approves use of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine

The country joins more than a dozen others in giving the shot the green light

Emily Keeping of Wetaskiwin, Alta., was last seen at 4:20 p.m. on Feb. 25, 2021 at the FasGas on 49 St and 50 Ave in Wetaskiwin. Supplied/ Wetaskiwin RCMP.
UPDATE: Wetaskiwin RCMP seek assistance in locating missing 11-year-old

Emily Keeping was last seen on Feb. 25, 2021 at the FasGas on 49 St and 50 Ave in Wetaskiwin.

Sylvan Lake's Winter Village lured many visitors to the town this winter. The town has launched a new contest to attract a new business.
(Black Press file photo)
Sylvan Lake offering rent-free storefront space to lure new businesses

Winning business proposal will get a storefront space rent-free for a year

Most Read