In a move some say is better late than never, just last week the U.S. and Canadian governments signed a deal that allows Canadian companies to participate in state and local public works projects in the 37 states that receive funding by the $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. In return, U.S. manufacturers/suppliers from those same states will be given the opportunity to compete for Canadian municipal and provincial contracts.

Unfortunately, the deal comes less than two weeks before the deadline for accessing money of Feb. 17, 2010, although many believe this will be extended.

There are pros and cons to this arrangement. The Associated General Contractors of America has issued a press release, stating its belief that the deal “will accelerate stimulus projects and provide much-needed construction jobs” for many Americans.

Press coming from the Canadian side, however, has been mixed. An article on the CTV News Web site quotes Canadian International Trade Minister Peter Van Loan, “It’s clear that our trade and our investment relationship is essential to businesses, communities and people in both countries. We’re one another’s top export partner and the deep integration of our markets makes us both more competitive globally.” However, within the same article are comments from the Liberal party’s Scott Brison criticizing the timing of the agreement and, “as a result, Canadian jobs [will] have been lost and Canadian competitiveness has been affected negatively.”

What are the ramifications of this deal? Will it really bring more jobs to Americans, Canadians or both? For how long?

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