The Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal

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Agreement on Buy American Act: The result of major efforts in aid of free trade

Press release

Agreement on Buy American Act:
The result of major efforts in aid of free trade

Montréal, February 16, 2010 - The Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal welcomes the entry into effect of an agreement between Ottawa and Washington to relax the protectionist provisions of the American recovery plan. This agreement will allow Canadian businesses to take part in invitations to tender for infrastructure projects in the 37 American states that adhere to the World Trade Organization's Agreement on Government Procurement.

"Over a year ago, when the major economic crisis revived the threat of protectionism, the Board of Trade, like many partners, decided to mobilize its allies-at home and in the United States-to reiterate the importance of free trade," said the President and CEO of the Board of Trade, Michel Leblanc. "We kept up the pressure on elected officials in both countries and, finally, our combined efforts yielded success."

"Key to our mobilization was to show that international trade is essential to economic development, particularly in major cities such as Montréal and large American cities," Michel Leblanc said. "In this sense, the path mapped out by all of our partners was the driving force behind the negotiation of this agreement."

"Access to the American market is extremely valuable to our businesses," Michel Leblanc said. "Quebec has a modern, open economy; exports account for half of our gross domestic product. Plus almost three quarters of our international exports go to the United States. So it's essential that we protect the gains we've made in trade integration with our neighbours to the south, which have been so profitable to us over the last 20 years."

"This agreement will allow our businesses to continue to export expertise to the United States and take advantage of the recovery measures that have not yet begun," Michel Leblanc said. "Of course, a faster settlement would have been nice. And the effectiveness of the agreement will be a function of the provisions being applied. But this outcome is still very positive. The federal, state and provincial governments on both sides of the border have sent a clear signal in favour of free trade."

"By supporting the World Trade Organization's Agreement on Government Procurement, both Canadian provinces and American states can take advantage of the beneficial effects of competition for infrastructure projects financed by public money," Michel Leblanc said in closing. "So in addition to encouraging the highest performing companies on both sides of the border, the agreement will allow governments to obtain the most competitive prices for their projects."

The Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal has some 7,000 members. Its mission is to represent the interests of the business community of Greater Montreal and to provide individuals, merchants, and local businesses of all sizes with a variety of specialized services to help them achieve their full potential in terms of innovation, productivity and competitiveness. The Board of Trade is Québec's leading private economic development organization.


Sylvie Paquette
Coordinator, Media Relations
Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montréal
Phone: 514-871-4000, extension 4015

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