The U.S. ambassador to Canada is defending the controversial Buy America provisions in his president’s new jobs bill.
David Jacobson says U.S. President Barack Obama’s $447-billion jobs legislation will get the U.S. economy back on track — and Canada’s with it.
Jacobson told a business audience in Ottawa that the provision was necessary if Obama’s bill has any chance of passage through a fractious U.S. Congress.
It was Jacobson’s most hard-hitting public message since becoming Obama’s envoy to Canada. He had little choice but to address the protectionist irritant.
Jacobson exhorted his audience to look at the bigger picture of the Canada-U.S. trading relationship — the largest in the history of the world.
Two-way trade between the two countries hit $526 billion last year, he says, or more than $1 million a minute.
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“When you contrast the consequences of the Buy America provision on Canadian commerce — probably a few hours of that annual trade I talked about earlier — with the benefits to the Canadian economy of the bill as a whole, I suspect the vast majority of economists in Canada would say they’d take the bad with the good.”