The arrival of a new president to the White House does not mean protectionism will be less present south of the border, according to Prime Minister Francois Legault, who says he is concerned about the use of “buy” clauses. American “.
At a Thursday press conference in Quebec, he warned that it would be difficult to obtain “relief” from Washington, even if Democrat Joe Biden’s administration were more “predictable”. From the previous one.
“You must be careful […], He said. When you look at US history, the Democrats were much more protective of the Republicans until (Donald) Trump arrived. This will be part of our discussions this evening with Mister (Justin) Trudeau. ”
In an effort to stimulate the economy, Mr. Biden has proposed massive investments in infrastructure and other transportation projects, while encouraging the purchase of American products through “buy American products” clauses.
This can complicate the task for the many companies that want to do business with their most important business partner in Quebec and Canada.
“It is very important to understand that there is a chain between suppliers where a product can cross borders multiple times and it is not in the interest of Americans or Canadians to have laws or regulations such as ‘Buy American Products.’
South of the border, public transit plans already state that 70% of the components must be manufactured in the United States and that final assembly must take place on U.S. soil. However, Quebec will host Alstom’s North American headquarters, which will in principle become the owner of the Bombardier railroad division, next week.
According to Mr. Legault, the US contracts “will pass through Quebec,” which, he says, is an argument that the excessive protectionist clauses have no reason to exist.
The Democratic administration, aiming to reduce greenhouse gas emissions using renewable energy, risks smiling at Hydro-Quebec as part of its strategy to become the “Northeast Battery.” Mr. Legault American said.
The state-owned company already has a large contract in its pocket with Massachusetts and is planning to try to obtain another contract as part of a call to bid in New York.
Asked about the end of the inadmissibility expressed by the French government for the acquisition by Alimentation Couche-Tard of the food giant Carrefour – which thwarted the deal – Mr Legault replied that he did not, he was not surprised.
Referring to food security issues, French Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire warned more than once, last week, against saying the Elysee.
“I put myself in the shoes of (Emmanuel) Macron, if there was a (French company) tomorrow morning that showed up on Metro, the answer would be no,” said Mr. Legault.
In recent years, many companies based in France have come to Quebec companies when it is time to shop. Bombardier Transport will be taken over by Alstom, Kamso is now owned by Michelin and Bombardier from the former C-series is controlled by Airbus.
However, the prime minister wanted to amend the deal between Bombardier and Alstom.
“Bombardier was in financial difficulty, and there was no Quebec buyer who was willing to pay what Alstom was willing to pay for the company’s rail division,” he said.