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Trade News

Each day TFO Canada publishes a sample of trade news on the Canadian import market along with any new, updated or changed regulations and legislations regarding international trade; countries in which TFO Canada offers services and on the export sectors which it promotes.


Harper, Obama pledge to boost credit in Americas

Monday, April 20, 2009 > 09:46:13

(Source: CBC News On-line)

Canada will double its funding of an institution that lends money to developing countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced Saturday at the Summit of the Americas in Trinidad and Tobago.

He pledged $4 billion to bolster the Inter-American Development Bank during a meeting with leaders at the 34-nation summit in Port-of-Spain.

"I emphasized Canada's role in successfully urging the G20 to provide more resources for international financial institutions so that they can provide smaller, more vulnerable nations in our hemisphere access to credit, the credit they need to stimulate and sustain economic activity at these times," Harper later told reporters.

He also announced that Canada will provide up to 1,600 scholarships for Caribbean students and researchers to develop their knowledge and skills in Canada for the future benefit of their home countries.

Meanwhile, U.S. President Barack Obama announced the creation of a $100-million US microfinance growth fund to help small entrepreneurs in the Western Hemisphere.

The White House said the new fund would loosen credit from banks and get money moving to small businesses. Such loans have proved successful in other developing regions.

Turning to Cuba and recent moves by the U.S. administration to overcome what Obama is calling "decades of mistrust," Harper said Canada has historically maintained diplomatic relations and "economic interaction" with the island.

However, he said Canada has not "turned a blind eye to the fact that Cuba is a communist dictatorship," adding that his government wants to see progress made on freedom, democracy and human rights, as well as economic matters.

Harper and Obama met informally for 10 minutes at the summit on Saturday.

When Obama was later asked whether he was taking any tips from Canada on his administration's Cuba policy, he quipped: "I take tips from Canada on a lot of things."

Earlier in the week, Obama lifted some travel and telecommunications restrictions on Cuba. Officials at the White House have openly wished that Cuba would not become the centre of attention at the 34-nation summit.

All the countries of the Americas are taking part except Cuba, which was excluded because it does not have a democratically elected leader.

South American leaders have praised the U.S. president for taking steps to restore some ties with Cuba, but they've pushed him to do even more — lift the 47-year-old U.S. trade embargo against the nation.

Obama spokesman Robert Gibbs has said the U.S. will "continue to evaluate and watch what happens."

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