Canada is angling for a green energy exemption from Buy American policies likely to be introduced by the Biden administration, chief trade negotiator Steve Verheul told a parliamentary committee earlier this week.
“The prospect of us getting a complete exemption from the Buy America provisions is something that’s not likely to be politically possible in the U.S.,” he said Tuesday. But that conclusion leads toward sector-specific negotiations between the two countries, and Verheul pointed to green energy and other green initiatives as the most likely area for cooperation.
“That’s the major focus we’re looking at because that’s, I think, where we can very easily align with the U.S., demonstrate that those markets, like many others, are very integrated and that we can produce a lot of those types of goods and services together,” he told MPs.
Verheul cast Canada as “a much more reliable supplier to the U.S. than other countries might be when it comes to green energy investments,” CBC reports, adding that U.S. officials “have on multiple occasions referred to Canada as a partner in building a clean energy economy.”
U.S. climate envoy John Kerry said as much at a virtual forum Tuesday, the national broadcaster adds, noting that both countries’ economies can gain from the drive for net-zero emissions. “We know that our fates are tied on this issue,” said Kerry, a former U.S. secretary of state and one of the architects of the 2015 Paris Agreement.
“The United States and Canada face similar climate impacts in the Arctic, along our coasts, and throughout the entire continent.,” he added. “Our policies are also deeply tied—we share an energy system and a vehicle supply chain. We also stand to both benefit, greatly, from the economic opportunity of building a clean energy future. The United States and Canada can, together, create millions of good, high-paying jobs to reach the net-zero future.”
Verheul told MPs it’s hard to assess how Buy American rules will affect the broader Canadian economy, since the Biden administration has yet to release details of its infrastructure plan.
“What we’re trying to do on Buy American is make sure that we have the proper kinds of relationships with the new U.S. administration, that we can have these kinds of conversations,” he said. “They have opened that door,” and “there’s an openness to make sure that they don’t take actions that are going to cause damage to us that we would certainly have difficulty with.”