Fri, February 20, 2009
Video > News/Media

Obama talks trade in Canada

2009-02-20 06:38:18 GMT2009-02-20 14:38:18 (Beijing Time)  Reuters

INTRO: U.S. President Barack Obama traveled to Canada -- America's biggest trading partner-- armed with some assurances for Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper

MOREINFO: Harper was concerned that the "Buy American" clause in the nearly $800 billion economic recovery package that Obama signed this week would discriminate against companies in Canada-- which sends 75 percent of its exports to the United States. Jon Decker reports.

SCRIPT:

On his first international trip as commander-in-chief, U.S. President Barack Obama traveled to Canada -- America's biggest trading partner-- armed with some assurances for Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

Harper was concerned that the "Buy American" clause in the nearly $800 billion economic recovery package that Obama signed this week would discriminate against companies in Canada-- which sends 75 percent of its exports to the United States.

SOUNDBITE: President Barack Obama saying (English):

"I provided Prime Minister Harper an assurance that I want to grow trade and not contract it. And I don't think there's anything in the recovery package that is adverse to that goal."

In fact, the Buy American provision -- which requires that any public works project funded by the stimulus package use only U.S. goods -- is anything but iron clad.

Stanley Marcus is a trade expert with the law firm of Bryan Cave.

SOUNDBITE: Stanley Marcus, trade expert with the law firm of Bryan Cave, saying (English):

"The legislation has an awful lot of outs in it. And Congress has in very many respects passed the buck to the Administration to figure out how to apply the "Buy American" provisions in a way that is consistent with U.S. trade obligations."

Another trade issue on the agenda....President Obama's stated desire to renegotiate NAFTA - the North American Free Trade Agreement -- by strengthening NAFTA's environmental and labor provisions.

SOUNDBITE: President Barack Obama saying (English):

"With a NAFTA agreement that has labor provisions and environmental provisions as side agreements; it strikes me if the side agreements mean anything, then they might as well be incorporated into the main body of the agreement so that they can be effectively enforced."

And just 48 hours after the U.S. received a request for $22 billion in additional loan assistance from General Motors and Chrysler, the two leaders also found some common ground on the future of the U.S. auto industry. Canadian Prime Minister Harper indicated that he's also willing to help out GM with long term funding in order to save thousands of manufacturing jobs within Canada.

Jon Decker, Reuters.

Add Your Comments:

Your Name:
Your Country:
Comment:
(English Only)
 
Please read our Terms of Service. Messages that harass, abuse or threaten others; have obscene or otherwise objectionable content; have spam, commercial or advertising content or links may be removed.

SPECIAL COVERAGE

MOST VIEWED

LATEST VIDEO

PICTURE GALLERY