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Senate amends 'Buy American' stimulus clause to comply with trade agreements

[JURIST] The US Senate [official website] amended the "Buy American" clause of the latest economic stimulus package [HR 1 materials] Wednesday to clarify that the provision will be applied consistent with US obligations under international trade agreements. The revised language was proposed by Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-ND) [official website]. The Senate also voted [materials] 31-65 to reject an amendment proposed by Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) [official website] that would have stripped the provision from the bill entirely. The previous version of the provision required that all goods used in a construction project, particularly iron and steel, be manufactured in the US in order to receive stimulus funding. Many countries, including Canada, are pleased [Reuters report] with the Senate's move to amend the provision, but the European steel confederation Eurofer [official website] believes the move does not go far enough [press release].

The previous version of the bill raised global concerns [JURIST report] about protectionism. President Barack Obama [official website] has already separated himself from the "Buy American" provision, saying in an interview [transcript] earlier this week: "That is a potential source of trade wars that we can't afford at a time when trade is sinking all across the globe."

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