Harper says oil would help in any NAFTA talks

Tue Apr 22, 2008 1:47pm EDT
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NEW ORLEANS (Reuters) - Prime Minister Stephen Harper said on Tuesday Canada's status as the top energy supplier to the United States would strengthen its position in any eventual renegotiation of NAFTA.

"We'll be prepared for any eventuality," he said, referring to the prospect of reopening the North American Free Trade Agreement under a possible future Democratic U.S. president.

"Canada is the United States' number one supplier of energy," Harper said at a news conference. "That is of critical importance to the future of the United States and if we had to look at this kind of an option, I think quite frankly we would be in an even stronger position now than we were 20 years ago and we'll be in a stronger position in the future."

(Reporting by David Ljunggren; Writing by Louise Egan; Editing by Bernadette Baum)

<p>Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper (L), U.S. President George W. Bush (C) and Mexico's President Felipe Calderon (R) sit down for breakfast during the second day of the North American Leaders' Summit in New Orleans, Louisiana, April 22, 2008. REUTERS/Chris Wattie</p>