It’s official. Page one, above the fold in today’s Washington Post:
“Is this what the first trade war of the global economic crisis looks like?
Ordered by Congress to “buy American” when spending money from the $787 billion stimulus package, the town of Peru, Ind., stunned its Canadian supplier by rejecting sewage pumps made outside of Toronto. After a Navy official spotted Canadian pipe fittings in a construction project at Camp Pendleton, Calif., they were hauled out of the ground and replaced with American versions. In recent weeks, other Canadian manufacturers doing business with U.S. state and local governments say they have been besieged with requests to sign affidavits pledging that they will only supply materials made in the USA.”
“Take, for instance, Duferco Farrell Corp., a Swiss-Russian partnership that took over a previously bankrupt U.S. steel plant near Pittsburgh in the 1990s and employed 600 people there. The new buy American provisions, the company said, are being so broadly interpreted that Duferco Farrell is on the verge of shutting down. […] “You need to tell me how inhibiting business between two companies located one mile apart is going to save American jobs,” said Bob Miller, Duferco Farrell’s executive vice president. “I’ve got 600 United Steel Workers out there who are going to lose their jobs because of this. And you tell me this is good for America?””
” John Hayward, president of Hayward Gordon, a Canadian manufacturer of pumps used in water works projects, says U.S. towns, including Peru, Ind., have told him that they can no longer buy his Canadian-made products.
“We’re not China. We’re not even Mexico. We have the same relative cost of labor as you do,” he said. “If we have a better price, you should buy from us. That’s what competition is supposed to be about.”
To stay in business, Hayward is considering moving some manufacturing operations to the United States, potentially creating jobs here. That, Peru Mayor Jim Walker notes, is what the stimulus was supposed to be about.
“You’re trying to get America turned around, trying to put Americans back to work,” Walker said. “And if American taxpayers are paying for this, well then, Americans deserve the benefits.” “