Worried Canada presses U.S. over Buy America steel plan: sources

By David Ljunggren

OTTAWA (Reuters) – Canada’s government, under pressure from domestic steel firms, is expressing concern to U.S. officials about a proposed Buy America policy that could cause heavy Canadian job losses, people familiar with the discussions told Reuters.

U.S. President Donald Trump, who wants firms to “Buy American and hire American,” pledged in January to require new pipelines to use U.S.-made steel.

Canadian steel firms fear Trump’s plan could badly hurt a highly-integrated North American industry, and are pressing Ottawa to take action, the people added.

Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland raised the issue with U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in their first conversation on March 9 and underscored worries about potential job losses, said a source familiar with the matter.

A statement issued after the meeting merely said that Freeland had highlighted “the mutual benefits of the integrated Canada-U.S. steel industry” but made no mention of the conversation about job losses.

In Washington, a Commerce Department official said Freeland had raised the Buy American issue during the call and that Ross noted her concerns. The official did not give further details.

Freeland spokesman Alex Lawrence said the minister would “continue to defend our steel workers” but gave no details.

Canadian diplomats and officials fanning out across the United States on a campaign to stress the benefits of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) are also underscoring the importance of the steel sector and concerns about what could happen if the Buy American move went ahead, said a senior political source who was not authorized to speak about the matter publicly.

Go to Source