Vive Le Canada

Canadian PM: exploring Asian market not anti-American
Date: Tuesday, October 25 2005
Topic:


Canadian PM: exploring Asian market not anti-American

OTTAWA, Oct. 24 (Xinhuanet) -- Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin said on Monday that developing greater markets with India and China "is not an anti-America position" while reiterating Canada would not negotiate with the U.S. on softwood duties.

Martin made the remarks at a press conference held hours before U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice begins her first visit to Canada.

"Canada's relations with the United States are good, but good relations with the U.S. does not mean as the prime minister of the country should not defend Canada" Martin said.

"Good relations with the U.S. does not mean the Canadian government should not look to broader horizon, in terms of Canadian interests," he added.


"The fact is we are living in North America, and U.S. is our important partner, this dose not mean it is not in our interest to seek new market," Martin said.

Developing greater markets with India, China with the rest of the world "is not an anti-America position." He said.

"That simply says we are a major exporting country, and we are not going to have all our eggs in one basket."

The prime minister told reporters that he has no intention of negotiating the question of softwood lumber duties with Rice.

"Those negotiations will require a sign... the U.S. intends to live up to the spirit and the letter of NAFTA (North America Free Trade Agreement)," Martin said.

Canada has increased pressure after the U.S. ignored NAFTA rulings that called for the return of billions in lumber duties to Canadian producers.

During his recent trip to New York City, Martin demanded the return of up to 5 billion Canadian dollars (4.2 billion US dollars) in collected tariffs, as well as future observance of NAFTA rulings.

"That is Canada's position and we're not backing down from that in any way shape or form," Martin said, promising to "continue pressing the case."

Yet he admitted that he might negotiate aspects of the softwood dispute not decided by various NAFTA appeal panels, including the creation of a better free trade dispute resolution mechanism.

Rice, who is to meet the Canadian prime minister Monday evening, is to have discussions with Foreign Minister Pierre Pettigrew about a wide range of issues including softwood, border security control and Iraqi and Afghan situations.

In April Rice canceled her scheduled trip to Canada following Ottawa's refusal to participate in the U.S. missile defense system. Enditem

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[Proofreader's note: this article was edited for spelling and typos on October 25, 2005]

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