Canada province considers law to retaliate against 'Buy American'

TORONTO (Reuters) - Ontario’s Liberals, the ruling party in Canada’s most populous province, introduced legislation on Tuesday that would give officials authority to retaliate against U.S. states that institute “Buy American” procurement policies.

The Fairness in Procurement Act would give Ontario’s government authority “to take responsive action to address unfair government procurement practices” such as those being adopted in New York and Texas, Ontario’s government said in a statement.

The legislation gives officials in the province, home to Canada’s manufacturing heartland, authority to implement retaliatory measures “in proportion” to any restrictions that U.S. states impose on public procurement, the press release said. Ontario procurement agencies would be required to exclude companies from the U.S. state.

Ontario’s Liberals, who have ruled for almost 15 years, face a tight challenge from conservatives in June elections.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo in December signed “Buy American” legislation mandating the purchase of U.S.-made steel and iron products for public road and bridge construction. Texas implemented a similar law came in September.

Reporting by Anna Mehler Paperny; Editing by Jim Finklel; Editing by Cynthia Osterman