Canadian ministers to meet Obama aide on auto bailout

Wed Mar 4, 2009 2:58pm EST
 
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OTTAWA (Reuters) - Senior Canadian cabinet ministers plan to meet White House economic aide Larry Summers on Thursday to coordinate plans to bail out automakers, Industry Minister Tony Clement said on Wednesday.

The Canadian units of General Motors and Chrysler -- controlled by Cerberus Capital Management LP -- presented restructuring plans to Ottawa last month with a March 31 deadline for reaching an agreement on government aid.

"We're still undergoing our review of their plans," Clement told reporters.

Part of that review involves talks with the top economic aide to U.S. President Barack Obama.

"I intend to discuss those with Larry Summers. It looks like we're scheduled to meet with him tomorrow, (Finance Minister) Jim Flaherty and myself. We'll be discussing issues including the auto sector and making sure that we understand where they're coming from and they understand where we're coming from," he said.

In late December, Canada said it was prepared to provide C$4 billion ($3.1 billion) in emergency loans to the automakers. GM Canada is eligible for loans of up to C$3 billion, while Chrysler Canada is eligible for up to C$1 billion. The Canadian arm of Ford Motor Co has not asked for immediate assistance.

($1=$1.28 Canadian)

(Reporting by Louise Egan; Editing by Peter Galloway)

 
<p>Industry Minister Tony Clement speaks to the media at a news conference about the auto industry on the rooftop terrace of the Canadian embassy with the U.S. Capitol behind him in Washington, November 20, 2008. REUTERS/Jim Bourg</p>