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Solution to Buy America Is Obama Executive Order: CME President Writes PM

OTTAWA, ONTARIO -- (Marketwire) -- 06/04/09 -- Reclaiming access to the US market for Canadian companies affected by Buy America provisions can be accomplished through an executive order by US President Barack Obama, according to Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters.

Building on International Trade Minister, Stockwell Day's comments that a solution to this issue should be found at the "executive level," CME President Jayson Myers has written Prime Minister Stephen Harper encouraging him to open discussions with the US about this possibility.

"I ask you to raise the Buy American issue when with President Obama as soon as possible. The President should be encouraged to issue an executive order stating that Buy American conditions contained in federal legislation will not apply at state and local levels," writes Myers. "In turn, we would strongly endorse an offer by the Canadian government to enter into negotiations with the United States to secure a more open procurement agreement between our two countries involving provincial, state, territorial and local governments."

CME has been working with many of the many affected companies from coast to coast since more stringent Buy America rules started restricting access to the US market and dramatically impacting their business. With some being forced to already move production from Canada to the US to comply with these new provisions, there has to be an increased sense of urgency around finding a solution.

"It doesn't matter what side of the 49th parallel you operate on - Buy America is bad for business in both countries," says Myers. And, with a growing sense of increased protectionism around the globe, the Canadian economy could be facing yet another storm.

"As you are well aware, Canadian suppliers to state and local level procurement projects funded by the US government are losing contracts, downsizing production, and cutting jobs because they are now being restricted from bidding in markets where they were previously free to compete," writes Myers. "American jobs are also being lost as Canadian customers see business in the United States disappear. Buy American restrictions are now appearing in a number of appropriation bills before Congress. We are also concerned that retaliatory actions being threatened in Canada and other countries could lead to an even more serious deterioration in the North American and global economy.

"We applaud your commitment and that of President Obama to avoid protectionism and keep markets open to trade. It is an exceptionally important commitment on the part of the world's two largest trading partners, especially because of the closely integrated nature of industrial production between our two countries," Myers continues. "If Canada and the United States cannot avoid imposing restrictions on our bilateral trade, then it is difficult to see how the global economy can avoid falling into a vicious circle of protectionism."

Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters (CME) is Canada's leading trade and industry association and the voice of manufacturing and global business in Canada.

The association represents more than 10,000 leading companies nationwide. More than 85% of CME's members are small and medium-sized enterprises. As Canada's leading business network, CME, through various initiatives including and the establishment of the Canadian Manufacturing Coalition, touches more than 100,000 companies from coast to coast, engaged in manufacturing, global business and service-related industries.

CME's membership network accounts for an estimated 82% of total manufacturing production and 90% of Canada's exports.

Jeff Brownlee
VP of Public Affairs
613-238-8888 ext. 4233

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