America’s allies have been expressing concern about the protectionist rhetoric coming from the liberal controlled Congress for some time now. The Detroit News reports that they are beginning to take preemptive action:
The Canadian government — backed by American businesses including Detroit’s Big Three automakers — has launched a lobbying blitz on Capitol Hill to defend free trade between the two North American economic superpowers.
The Canadian effort stems from the fierce criticism the North American Free Trade Agreement came under during the Democratic presidential primaries and from threats made by likely Democratic presidential nominee, Sen. Barack Obama, to opt out of NAFTA unless it is renegotiated to strengthen labor and environmental protections.
The officials had meetings with more than 60 members of Congress and their aides, said Michael Wilson, the Canadian ambassador to the United States. … Armed with statistics and examples of jobs the agreement has created in congressional districts, the officials sought to put a “human face on trade with Canada.”
Wilson noted that Canada buys $248 billion in goods from the United States — versus just $65 billion from China. About 7 million –or 1 in 25 — American jobs depend on trade between the two nations. Canada is the leading export market for 39 of the 50 U.S. states.