February 28, 2008 / 12:22 AM / 10 years ago

Flaherty sees no quick capital gains moves

TORONTO (Reuters) - Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said on Wednesday he hopes to do more to cut taxes on capital gains, but acknowledged he does not anticipate new measures in the near term.

<p>Canada's Finance Minister Jim Flaherty (C) shakes hands with Prime Minister Stephen Harper after delivering his budget to the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa February 26, 2008. REUTERS/Chris Wattie</p>

“I would hope that we could do more in the future on (capital gains),” Flaherty told reporters when asked if the Conservative government’s campaign promise to defer the tax was off the agenda forever.

“We are in a time of economic slowness in the United States and that affects the Canadian economy ... That’s why we are taking a prudent, cautious and responsible approach now in our budgeting,” he said.

Flaherty also said he was concerned about talk of the United States opting out of the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA, by Democratic presidential contenders Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama in a debate on Tuesday.

“I’ve heard about those comments and haven’t had an opportunity to read precisely what has been said. It is a concern,” he told reporters.

During the debate, both Clinton and Obama said the United States could “opt out” of NAFTA unless Mexico and Canada agree to renegotiate the labor and environmental standards in the deal.

“NAFTA is a tremendous benefit to Americans and perhaps the nominees have not had the opportunity to familiarize themselves with the benefit to Americans and the American economy of NAFTA because there’s a tendency to say it favors Mexico or it favors Canada rather than to recognize the mutual benefits that come out of free trade,” Flaherty told reporters.

Reporting by John McCrank; Writing by Frank Pingue; Editing by Peter Galloway

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