The Ontario government said they are opposed to the Buy American executive order signed by U.S. President Joe Biden on Monday, saying that the order would disrupt their existing relationship and cost millions of jobs on both sides of the border.
“We are concerned with what these measures could mean for Ontario workers, families, and businesses who rely on the U.S.-Ontario trading relationship,” said Vic Fedeli, Ontario’s Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade in a statement released Tuesday.
“This is a critically important trading relationship that supports millions of jobs on both sides of the border, and is worth approximately $400 billion CAD annually.”
The new executive order means mainly American manufacturers, suppliers, businesses and workers will benefit from U.S. government spending which includes approximately $600 billion a year in procurement contracts.
As for Canada, waivers to the new policies would only be granted under “very limited circumstances, according to Biden,” a regression to the agreement struck with former president Barack Obama back in 2010 when the Conservatives were in power.
Fedeli argued that if Ontario were a country, they would be the third largest partner of the United States, so Biden’s move to restrict Canadian access to the U.S. procurement contracts could undermine the economy of both sides.
“Doubling down on already rigorous ‘Buy American’ rules could drive up the cost of government projects, undermining their potential to create jobs and spur economic growth,” Fedeli said, referring to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce‘s statement on “Buy American.”
Moreover, the new policies would “disrupt existing Ontario-U.S. cross-border supply chains and erode the deep and long-standing relationships we have built over the years,” he continued.
“We can’t take these important relationships for granted,” he added.
Fedeli said the Ontario government will continue to call on Ottawa to ensure Canada is exempt from any Buy American provisions, and advocate for a “Buy North American” approach instead.