Barack Obama appears to be backing away from the risk of triggering a trade war. The US President has hinted that a controversial “Buy American” clause contained in a stimulus package up for debate in the Senate could be removed. Canada and EU countries sent letters of protest over the clause, which would allow only US-made products to be used in projects funded by the package.
Still busy trying to assemble his government, and push ahead with urgent reforms, Obama says it would be a “mistake” to send out a “protectionist message” on world trade. The urgent need for a stimulus package is highlighted in the latest US car sales figures: they are below China’s for the first time ever. Sales last month were down by between 40 and 55 percent at the major firms.