Canada eyes immediate, significant hit from "fiscal cliff"

Fri Nov 16, 2012 2:04pm EST
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NEW YORK (Reuters) - Canada's gross domestic product would suffer a significant and immediate decline if the United States were not to avert its "fiscal cliff," Canadian Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said on Friday in a speech in New York.

The "fiscal cliff" refers to automatic tax hikes and spending cuts that are to be triggered on January 2 if legislators and the White House cannot agree on a more nuanced budget deal.

He also said the government was on course to balance the budget in the next two to three years. On Tuesday, he had presented a fiscal update which projected a surplus only in 2016-17, but Prime Minister Stephen Harper said on Friday the goal was still to balance the budget by the October 2015 election.

(Reporting by Edward Krusny; Writing by Randall Palmer; Editing by Diane Craft)