Premiers, Freeland bound for U.S. capital to mark USMCA, beat back protectionism

Premiers, Freeland bound for U.S. capital to mark USMCA, beat back protectionism

WASHINGTON — A delegation of premiers will be in Washington this weekend to reinforce cross-border business ties with their American counterparts, hedging their bets at the dawn of a new and uncertain era of managed North American trade.

Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe will lead a group of provincial leaders that includes Ontario Premier Doug Ford, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney, Quebec’s Francois Legault and Blaine Higgs, the premier of New Brunswick.

Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland will also be there, on the margins of the winter meeting of the National Governors Association, a three-day gathering of state leaders.  

Part of the group’s mission is to extend Canada’s gratitude for the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, the new North American trade pact that President Donald Trump signed into law last week that is awaiting ratification in the House of Commons.

But as the spotlight fades from USMCA, there’s a new threat looming: Buy American, the protectionist measures that require the exclusive use of U.S. raw materials on government projects.

There are also reports the White House is exploring whether to pull out of a $1.7-trillion procurement agreement with members of the World Trade Organization, including Canada — an agreement that, like the old NAFTA, provides would-be Canadian bidders preferential access to government contracts.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 6, 2020.

The Canadian Press

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