A tentative agreement reached between the U.S. and Canada would provide Canadian suppliers access to state and local public works projects under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. At the same time, US suppliers will now have access to provincial, territorial, and municipal supply contracts in Canada.

Reciprocal rights to sell in US and Canada means win win.

Originally, the  Buy American provisions of the ARRA had mandated that all steel and manufactured goods purchased with the stimulus funds be made in the United States or in countries with U.S. agreements on government procurement. Local-level projects were also mostly confined to U.S.-made goods.
 Canadian Officials contested these provisions, despite Canada’s exclusion of US suppliers from bidding on provincial and territorial  supply contracts.
Guaranteed Reciprocal Access
According to the  february 5, 2010 agreement, Ottawa will also provide U.S. suppliers with access to construction contracts across its provinces and territories, as well in as a number of municipalities – a breakthrough according to US officials.
This administration made clear to Canada from the outset that any agreement to provide Canada with expanded access to U.S. procurement absolutely must provide guaranteed reciprocal access for US exporters to supply goods and services to Canada through provincial and territorial procurement contracts,” USTR Ron Kirk, the top U.S. trade official, said. “USTR has won that access for American firms, and I look forward to signing the agreement soon,” he said. “The value of new job-supporting contracts open to US firms will be tens of billions of dollars.”
Nice to see that win-win based on mutual respect and mutual opportunity can be the basis of trade. Trade  doesn’t just have to be beggar thy neighbor.
Ooops, wrong Kirk.

Hey Kirk, how about taking that line  of reasoning to Beijing?
Kirk Comments.
US Canada Joint Statement.
Infrastructure Photo Credit.
Capt. Kirk Photo credit.

Stealing scrap metals  Clerical errors at scrapyards could become a federal crime under provisions of H.R.1006 now in committee.  We saw nothing in this bill  that is aimed at the theives who actually steal, say, the cover of that manhole that you drive into. 

You won't find these in our chip buckets!
You won't find these in our chip buckets!

But if the scrapyard makes a paperwork error, look out. $10,000 fine!
Goal 8 of the bill states “The secondary metal recycling industry should be commended for educating the public and law enforcement to the problems related to metal theft, issuing `Do Not Buy’ lists, partnering with the National Crime Prevention Council, and creating a Theft Alert System.”
Section 9, Civil Penalty  states “The knowing violation of any provision of this Act is punishable by a civil penalty of not to exceed $10,000.”
Fining clerks  in small businesses  $10,000 for paperwork errors- now that’s  an effective way to commend the industry. Does nothing to deter  the actual thieves from stealing infrastructure.
Bipartisan introductions in both the House ( H.R.1006  ) and Senate (S.418) could make this one bill that actually gets out of committee and passed  this year.
The bill requires “secondary metal recycling agents to keep records of their transactions in order to deter individuals and enterprises engaged in the theft and interstate sale of stolen secondary metal, and for other purposes.”
They already do.
The bill specifically calls out manhole covers, storm water grates, highway guard rails, railroad tracks, automobile components, and street lamps as posing a significant safety risk.
It defines secondary metal as “Copper, aluminum, or other metal (including any metal combined with other materials) that is valuable for recycling or reuse as raw metal.”
We understand the problem of theft of metals – the price of copper has  increased 19 % since May, 64% since January according to PMPA’s latest Material Impacts Report .  Steel scrap prices have been highly variable, and thefts peak when the prices paid are high.
But is increasing  the penalties for recordkeeping  requirements  on scrap dealers the best way to tackle this problem?
What do you think? Has theft of scrap metals been a problem for your shop? Has your community been plagued by theft of power lines, guard rails or manhole covers? What would you recommend to lawmakers to deter the theft of scrap metals?  We think fining clerks at scrapyards does nothing to deter theft. What about you?