Canada won’t be completely spared by U.S. President Joe Biden’s “Buy American” policies, but it could clinch some exemptions in key areas, according to a former Canadian ambassador to the U.S.

David MacNaughton, who served as Canada's top envoy between 2016 to 2019, said the Liberal government should remind Biden and his cabinet of the benefits of free trade between both countries as Canada tries to negotiate past the new U.S.'s recent protectionist measures.

 “We have some leverage in the sense that Americans do well because we don’t have ‘Buy Canada’ provisions in our procurement policies,” he said during an interview on Wednesday. 

“Those are the kind of things that I think will remind American business and American legislators that they shouldn’t be cutting their nose to spite their face, that actually we do have an integrated economy.

“I don’t think we’ll get a full exemption, but I think we can work our way towards getting key elements of that not to apply to Canada.”

Biden’s “Buy American” measures aim to make U.S. companies the main beneficiaries of federal spending, while also clamping down on contractors’ use of foreign suppliers.

On Tuesday, the two leaders took part in a virtual meeting alongside cabinet officials where they agreed to collaborate on issues such as the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change and China's detention of Canadians Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor.

However, several points of contention remain between the two countries, such as the protectionist measures and Biden’s decision last month to cancel the Keystone XL pipeline project.