Feds ease industrial requirements for fighter-jet makers after U.S. complaints

The federal government is loosening its industrial requirements for fighter-jet makers as it prepares to launch a $19-billion competition to replace Canada's aging CF-18s.

The change follows recent U.S. complaints that the criteria violate Canada's obligations as one of nine partner countries in the development of the F-35, one of the small handful of planes expected in the competition.

Canada previously required companies bidding on major defence contracts to commit to re-investing back into the country.

But the government is now telling fighter-jet makers that bids missing such a commitment will still be allowed, just docked points in the assessment.

A senior government official tells The Canadian Press the decision is intended to maximize the number of bids in the competition to buy 88 new jets while still aiming for economic spinoffs.

The U.S. had threatened not to enter the F-35 into the competition if the requirement wasn't changed.