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U.S. cedes Buy American demand from NAFTA as Canada, Mexico claim credit: sources

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OTTAWA — The United States has backed down from its contentious Buy American demands for lucrative procurement projects in the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement, the Canadian Press has learned.

Mexico and Canada are each taking credit for standing firm against the controversial U.S. position that would have effectively limited their respective countries’ ability to bid on valuable American government infrastructure projects.

Multiple sources, speaking on the condition of anonymity, cited the competing claims as one example of the animosity between Canada and Mexico that has arisen since Mexico reached its own NAFTA deal with the Trump administration last month.

Canada and the U.S. are trying to renegotiate their portion of the three-country trade pact, but major sticking points such as dairy, dispute resolution and culture remain.

Canada has credited Mexico with making significant concessions in its deal with the U.S. on automobiles and for permitting large wage increases for Mexican auto workers.

But sources say Mexico has done much of the “heavy lifting” on getting the Americans to back down on its demand to limit the ability of Canadian and Mexican firms to bid on U.S. infrastructure projects, while seeking greater access for American firms to Mexican and Canadian government projects.

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