Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MIDDLE EAST MATTERS

Gaza conflict: Palestinians mark sombre Eid

Read more

WEB NEWS

Celebrities in the Israel-Gaza crossfire

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Israeli strike takes out Gaza power station

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

French newspaper apologises for Sarkozy story

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Last-ditch talks aim to avert Argentina default

Read more

DEBATE

Europe's Plan for Putin: Will Russian Leader Bend After New Sanctions? (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

Europe's Plan for Putin: Will Russian Leader Bend After New Sanctions?

Read more

FOCUS

Pakistan's Ahmadis living in fear of extremist attacks

Read more

WEB NEWS

Web users show solidarity with Iraqi Christians

Read more

  • Deadly shelling strikes Gaza UN school

    Read more

  • Video: Coping with rocket attacks in Israel’s Sderot

    Read more

  • Rats on the rampage at Louvre museum gardens

    Read more

  • France evacuates nationals, closes embassy in Libya

    Read more

  • Scores trapped as landslide hits Indian village

    Read more

  • Dozens killed in stampede at Guinea rap concert

    Read more

  • US and EU slap Russia with fresh sanctions over Ukraine

    Read more

  • 'Compelling' signs Kosovo leaders trafficked organs, prosecutor says

    Read more

  • Europe launches last resupply ship to space station

    Read more

  • Graphic: Ebola spreads across West Africa

    Read more

  • Video: How tourism is helping Rwanda’s gorillas, ex-poachers

    Read more

  • Islamists seize key Benghazi army base as fire rages on

    Read more

  • In pictures: ن - a sign of support for Iraq’s persecuted Christians

    Read more

  • Calls mount to ban France’s ‘violent’ Jewish Defence League

    Read more

Americas

Canada, EU warn USA against protectionism

Video by Catherine VIETTE

Latest update : 2009-02-03

Canada and the EU warned US lawmakers against protectionist measures Monday, responding to a "Buy American" amendment passed by the US House of Representatives as part of President Barack Obama's $819bn stimulus plan.

Read Owen Fairclough's commentary: 'Us and us only'

 

AFP - The European Union ratcheted up pressure Monday against US President Barack Obama's Buy American stimulus plan, sending letters to the White House and Congress in protest.
   
EU ambassador to Washington John Bruton told AFP he had written Monday to congressional leaders and the Obama administration expressing concerns about government legislation to restrict procurement to American goods, including steel and textiles.
   
"We regard this legislation as setting a very dangerous precedent at a time when the world is facing a global economic crisis," said Bruton, the head of the European Commission delegation to the United States.
   
The Senate is considering an 888-billion-dollar stimulus plan that restricts stimulus-funded infrastructure projects to use only US manufactured goods.
   
The House of Representatives last week approved an 819-billion-dollar version of the bill with a more narrow Buy American restriction to US iron and steel.
   
Bruton said the Buy American provision, if signed into law, could spur other countries to set up protectionist barriers and ultimately cost American jobs.
   
The current economic crisis is global in nature and "if it needs to be solved, it needs to be a global solution and that global leadership comes together in the G20," he added.
   
Bruton recalled that the Group of 20 developed and developing countries, at a November crisis summit in Washington, had pledged not to introduce new protectionist measures between then and the next G20 summit, to be held on April 2 in London.
   
"More important ... is the confidence effect. The public in the world at the moment are looking to be assured that somebody is in charge of the global economy and that global leaders are working together to fix the global economy," he said.
   
"If we have a series of protectionist measures introduced, then the possibility of real global leadership is put at risk."
   
And protectionist barriers would "defeat the whole purpose of stimulus," he said.
   
Bruton said he had received no response to the letters he sent Monday to the White House and the majority and minority leaders of the House and Senate.
   
"Obviously we'd be hoping that the administration express its views on this. I think the election of President Obama and the response in the world to him is a tremendous economic and political advantage of the United States. It gives the United States the capacity to lead the world by example."
   
Bruton said there was a "real danger" that a Buy American initiative would "diminish that possibility."
   
Canada, the United States' largest trade partner, warned Monday that the Buy American provision could result in a global depression.
   
US protectionism "can only trigger retaliatory action," Canada's trade minister Stockwell Day said.
   
"These protectionist measures, in a time of recession, only make things worse," Day told public broadcaster CBC.
   
"It can only trigger retaliatory action and we don't want to go there ... We do not want to see that happen.
   
"In the 1930s, when the world was headed into a significant recession, it was US protectionist legislation that resulted in retaliatory legislation around the world and really plunged things into a depression," he added.

Date created : 2009-02-03

COMMENT(S)