Prime Minister Harper Making the Case for Trade

By September 16, 2009Energy, Global Warming, Trade

From The Globe and Mail, Toronto, noting PM Harper’s meeting with congressional leaders on the Buy American provisions in the stimulus bill that provoked Canadian responses and hurt companies on both sides of the border, “PM prepares to lobby U.S. Congress.”

Canadian prime ministers troop to the White House every few years, but rarely lobby the congressional leadership who control matters key to Canada’s interests – such as inserting Buy American clauses into stimulus-spending bills. Mr. Harper meets Mr. Obama for less than an hour Wednesday, but will hold two sessions Thursday with the top Democrats and Republicans in both the House and Senate.

“In the American system, particularly when it comes to issues of trade and protectionism, often our bigger challenges are in Congress, as opposed to the administration,” Mr. Harper said in an interview with CTV News before he left for Washington.

“So far the administration has responded quite positively to our offers and our attempts to deal with this. But it may be the case that the administration alone can’t deal with it. That’s something we’ll have to gauge on this trip.”

The prime minister will also talk about the move by some in Congress to punish Canada for developing its oil sands in northern Alberta. Environmental groups are engaging in protests and stunts against PM Harper’s visit, agitating against U.S. energy security. See SecureOurFuel.org’s commentary, “Greenpeace’s War on Reality.” Key excerpt:

of PetroChina’s involvement (financial and otherwise) in the oil sands eliminated all doubt, if any remained, that even if U.S. policymakers end our unique relationship on energy with Canada, those resources will continue to be produced for, sold to and used by millions (billions?) of grateful energy consumers in Asia – impacting America’s economic and strategic position, but doing nothing to limit the emission of carbon dioxide (in fact, according to one respected study, emissions may actually increase under an LCFS).

UPDATEHow ‘Buy American’ Can Hurt U.S. Firms“:

Mr. Pokorsky runs Aquarius Technologies Inc., a company in Port Washington, Wis., that makes equipment to treat sewage. The stimulus plan earmarks some $6 billion for municipal wastewater projects that are right in his company’s sweet spot.

But the bill’s Buy American provisions — meant to give U.S. companies a leg up on foreign competition — are causing Aquarius and other U.S. companies a lot of grief with both suppliers and clients in Canada.

Protectionism invites retaliation invites further protectionism invites further …

 

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