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AFTER passing a 'Buy America' provision in the country's massive economic stimulus plan, US legislators could next be pushing for a 'Hire American' clause that might further stir fears about protectionism.

The 'Buy America' provision in the US$819 billion economic stimulus plan, which the US House of Representatives passed on Thursday, has already drawn sharp protests from major trade partners like Canada and the European Union.

The provision, which builds on the Buy American Act in 1933, states that all public works projects financed by the economic rescue package must be built with US iron and steel.

The Senate, which will begin deliberating its own version of the stimulus package next Monday, is said to be readying plans to expand this 'Buy America' provision to ensure all government-funded projects use mostly products made in the US.
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