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Tit-for-tat measure against US

CANADIAN mayors passed a resolution on Saturday that would potentially shut out United States bidders from city contracts in response to the US government's "Buy American" policy.

The nonbinding resolution passed 189-175 at the Federation of Canadian Municipalities conference in Whistler, British Columbia.

Federation President Jean Perrault said the fair trade resolution was a reaction to "Buy American" protectionist policies.

"The US protectionist policy is hurting Canadian firms, costing Canadian jobs and damaging Canadian efforts to grow our economy in the midst of a worldwide recession," said Perrault. "A solution is urgently needed. Jobs are on the line."

The "Buy American" policy introduced earlier this year requires stimulus projects to use only US-made steel, iron and manufactured goods.

"Buy American" supporters in the US want to make sure that the billions of US taxpayer dollars being spent will revive the economy and create jobs at home.

But the provision has angered other world governments who accuse the US of preaching free trade while practicing stealth protectionism.

Canada and the US share the largest trading relationship in the world. More than 70 percent of Canada's exports go to the US.

Since the "Buy American" provisions were introduced, Canadian firms have said they have been facing difficulties in winning government contracts in US states and cities.

Perrault said the Federation and Canadian provinces are also pushing for a fair trade agreement between Canada and the US that would protect jobs and industries on both sides of the border.


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