Yukon probably exempt from new US Canada trade deal

Yukon’s carpenters, electricians and plumbers shouldn’t fear a new international trade deal. It’s supposed to make it easier for American firms to bid on government construction contracts in Canada.

Yukon’s carpenters, electricians and plumbers shouldn’t fear a new international trade deal.

It’s supposed to make it easier for American firms to bid on government construction contracts in Canada, but it probably won’t breach the territory’s protectionist firewall that shields local companies from Outside

competition.

The pending agreement was announced Monday and is expected to be inked within the next week. Only then will details be known.

But Richard Provan, a senior policy adviser with Yukon’s Department of Economic Development, expects the new deal won’t upset the raft of exemptions the territory negotiated into Canada’s Agreement on Internal

Trade to allow preferential treatment of local companies in awarding public contracts.

However, there’s one big “if.” Yukon’s construction market may be opened to American firms in cases of contracts that are priced in the “hundreds of millions,” said Provan.

And there’s one big public contract in the works that would exceed this threshold: Yukon Energy’s plans to expand its hydro-electric project near Mayo. Work on this project, to be done over the next two years, is

expected to employ a peak of 50 to 75 workers.

But at this point, it remains unclear whether the Mayo B project will be up for grabs, said Provan.

The new deal is also supposed to make it easier for Canadian companies to bid on stimulus projects in the US. But the agreement doesn’t include Alaska, so it won’t help Yukon companies crack the market of their

American neighbours.