Need more proof that Canadian manufacturers are feeling anxiety about the "buy American" trend? Then check out this column, "U.S. again insults its friendly neighbor," from Bill Mann of Marketwatch. Readers may recall that I was surprised last week by a report that a Canadian plastics processor was eager to buy a U.S. company because he was feeling pressure from U.S. customers that want to buy from U.S. suppliers. Mann's column reinforces that U.S. actions -- he specifically cites the U.S. government -- "show little concern about Canadian concerns." He cites these specifically, and the first one echoes the plastics industry concern:
- The protectionist "Buy American" language in [President] Obama's recent jobs bill that would hurt Canadian suppliers and businesses. Similar language was included in Obama's big stimulus bill two years ago.
- The U.S. recently ended an exemption for Canadians flying or sailing into the U.S. as part of a trade deal with Columbia. True, an extra $5.50 (American) won't break anybody, but it's the thought -- actually, the thoughtlessness about Canada -- that matters here. The Canadian media was not amused.
- Talks on a new U.S.-Canada border accord have dragged on far longer than anyone expected. Meanwhile, the U.S. Border Patrol is playing with model airplanes (Predator drones) patrolling the Canadian border. Which seems a tad insulting and not very neighborly. .
- The world's biggest trading relationship continues to face a major bottleneck at the busiest border crossing: A proposed second bridge between the auto-manufacturing hubs of Windsor, Ont., and Detroit is being stalled in the Michigan legislature largely because of opposition and money from the rich guy who owns (yes, owns) the current bridge. Canada calls the new bridge its biggest infrastructure priority and has even offered to pay for the span. But pesky U.S. special-interest politics intrude once again.