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Canada-USTrade 2ndLd-Writethru 02-02 Web

Trade exemption sought

Canada hopes U.S. officials will exempt America’s top trading partner from "Buy American" provisions in the economic stimulus bill before President Obama arrives in Canada this month for his first foreign trip.

International Trade Minister Stockwell Day said Monday Canadian officials are in daily contact with U.S. officials. He reiterated that he is hopeful Canada will be exempted from provisions that call on major public works projects to favor U.S. iron, steel and manufactured goods over imports.

Canada warns that favoring U.S. companies would breach Washington’s free trade commitments and could set off a retaliatory trade war.

Obama is scheduled to be in Ottawa on Feb. 19.

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"We would like to find a solution before the president visits Canada. We don’t know if it’s possible but that’s where we’re heading. It’s our aim to find a solution before that time," Day told Parliament.

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