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Dallas, Fort Worth Mayors Stand With Canada Over ‘Buy American' Law

WASHINGTON DC 07.12.2017

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Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings
Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings

Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings and Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price are in Toronto and Montreal, Canada, this week discussing trade relations. The two have voiced concerns about how the recently signed Senate Bill 1289, the so-called Buy American bill, could have negative repercussions on iron and steel trade with Canada, the Texas Tribune reports

Siding with Canadian officials, Rawlings and Price have said the law could have unintended consequences and they hope to explore potential changes to the law. 

The law requires large state projects like buildings and infrastructure to use iron and steel from American suppliers if the cost does not exceed 20% more than the price of foreign imports. It goes into effect Sept. 1. Under the law, any country's iron and steel can be used if American suppliers are not prepared to supply a project or if there is a compelling state interest.

Crater Lake Consulting's Karen Berlin Cooperstein and Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price
Crater Lake Consulting's Karen Berlin Cooperstein and Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price

Texas and Canada have strong trade relations that could break down under the bill. Canada is the top export destination for U.S. steel, representing $9.7B in 2016. Last year, $95M worth of business was done between the DFW and Canada.

Canadian leasers, including Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne, have also expressed a desire to help rewrite the law with a Canadian exemption. In a May 15 letter to Texas senators, Canadian officials asked for an exemption for Canadian steel, but their request was denied. 

Rawlings and Price are also trying to address concerns about President Donald Trump’s vow to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement.