Vive Le Canada

Business Execs Plan to Stress Free Trade at New Orleans Summit
Date: Saturday, April 19 2008
Topic:


Leading business executives will try to rally North American leaders against increasing protectionist sentiment next week by issuing a call for greater co-operation in the face of cries by Democratic presidential candidates to review free trade.

NORTH AMERICAN LEADERS MEET

Business executives plan to stress free trade to Bush, Harper, Calderon

BRIAN LAGHI

OTTAWA BUREAU CHIEF

April 19, 2008



Leading business executives will try to rally North American leaders against increasing protectionist sentiment next week by issuing a call for greater co-operation in the face of cries by Democratic presidential candidates to review free trade.



The call will be included in a report to be presented Tuesday to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, U.S. President George W. Bush and Mexican President Felipe Calderon when they hold their Three Amigos Summit in New Orleans.



The report, written by a council of executives from all three countries, is also expected to include a request that the annual summit not be derailed as the United States elects a new president this year and protectionist sentiment increases. Although the free-trade issue is expected to be only a small part of the report, the executives are concerned about increasing rhetoric on the issue and want more, not less, co-operation between the three countries.



Corporate leaders, who form the North American Competitiveness Council, are concerned about increasing attitudes to curtail the free flow of goods and services, and don't want that to derail the annual meeting.



"The idea of a formal commitment to a summit on a regular basis, preferably, more or less, around the same time of year, creates a momentum that is very helpful," said Tom d'Aquino, president of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives.



Regular summit meetings compel bureaucrats working on the various files to meet certain hard deadlines, he said...



[snip]



...Mr. d'Aquino said the executives will argue that, more than ever, the three countries need to work closely together to deal with increasing competition, primarily from Asia.



Sources said the executives don't want to make free trade the main issue of their report, lest it fan the flames of a debate that they don't want to see reopened...



Full article: Business executives plan to stress free trade to Bush, Harper, Calderon







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