The Dems’ pork bill is bad in just about every possible way. One feature of the bill that hasn’t received a lot of attention (here, anyway) is the “buy America” provision. But the Europeans have noticed, and they say it may lead to a trade war. From England’s Telegraph:
The EU trade commissioner vowed to fight back after the bill passed in the House of Representatives late on Wednesday included a ban on most purchases of foreign steel and iron used in infrastructure projects.
The Senate’s version of the legislation, which will be debated early next week, goes even further, requiring that any projects related to the stimulus use only American-made equipment and goods.
The inclusion of protectionist measures has quickly raised hackles in Europe.
Catherine Ashton, the EU trade commissioner, said: “We are looking at the situation. The one thing we can be absolutely certain about, is if a bill is passed which prohibits the sale or purchase of European goods on American territory, that is something we will not stand idly by and ignore.” …
Countries in Europe and Asia are planning major injections of cash into infrastructure to boost their economies, and US firms don’t want to be left out of potentially lucrative contracts.
The director of public affairs for Caterpillar tried to explain the facts of life to Barack Obama, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi:
He said: “We are the first to recognise that if the US embraces Buy American then the whole notion of buying national will mestastasize and limit our ability to take part in overseas projects.
“We are students of history. A major reason a very deep recession turned into the Great Depression was the fact that countries turned inward.”
Then, of course, there is the matter of whether the Dems’ “buy America” provisions would “contravene US obligations reached in various World Trade Organisation agreements.”
Once again, we see the Obama administration thrashing around like a bull in a china shop, apparently oblivious to the consequences of its actions overseas. This is rapidly becoming a pattern.
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