February 19, 2009 / 4:11 PM / 11 years ago

EU to watch "Buy American" implementation closely

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Commission will monitor closely a “Buy American” requirement in a $787 billion U.S. economic stimulus package, the EU executive said in its first response since the bill came into force on Tuesday.

“Following the concerns expressed both in the U.S. and internationally, President (Barack) Obama’s administration has assured its partners that it will adhere to its international commitments,” the Commission said in a statement to Reuters.

“What we hope to see is that the stimulus package will be implemented in keeping with the open and reciprocal trade and investment environment ... we will be watching this implementation closely,” said the statement, issued on Thursday.

The Commission oversees trade policy for the 27-nation European Union.

The final version of the “Buy American” measure requires public works and building projects funded by the stimulus package to use only U.S.-made goods, including iron and steel.

But it also requires that it be done in a manner consistent with U.S. trade pacts — giving Canada, the European Union, Japan and a short list of other trading partners some comfort they could share in the expanded U.S. public works market created by the stimulus bill. (Reporting by Darren Ennis, editing by Dale Hudson)

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