President Barack Obama wants to see the back of his earlier proposed "Buy American" clause of the nearly $900 billion economic stimulus bill being considered by the Congress. He said on Tuesday that he did not intend sending a protectionist message on world trade, thereby sparking off a trade war!
Saying that the "Buy American" clause will be a "mistake" and he plans to alter it, Obama added: "I think we need to make sure that any provisions that are in there are not going to trigger a trade war."
Speaking on the Fox television network, Obama admitted that the contentious provision, coming at the critical time of weakened worldwide trade, would send across a message that "somehow we're just looking after ourselves and not concerned with world trade."
The provision - which required the use of only US-made iron, steel and manufactured goods for the stimulus-funded infrastructural projects - has met with international condemnation. The governments of the EU and Canada have sent letters to the US Congress urging the stipulation be eliminated.
According to the European Union, the "Buy American" stipulation would send "the worst possible signal" for world trade. A European Commission spokesman revealed the EU's plans of launching a complaint with the World Trade Organization in case the clause is not removed.
John Bruton, the EU Ambassador to Washington, said: "We regard this legislation as setting a very dangerous precedent at a time when the world is facing a global economic crisis."
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