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Leaders of Canada, Mexico Meet with U.S. President

STEVE INSKEEP, host:

NPR's business news starts with North American leaders meeting as free trade is under attack.

(Soundbite of music)

INSKEEP: President Bush meets today with Mexico's President Felipe Calderon and Canada's Prime Minister Steven Harper. And one item they are likely to mention is free trade. President Bush says he wants the partners in the North American Free Trade Agreement to talk about expanding trade in the rest of this hemisphere.

But Mr. Bush is facing resistance in his own country. Over the weekend, the president voiced his frustration that a deal with Colombia is stuck in Congress.

President GEORGE W. BUSH: The Speaker of the House has chosen to block the Colombia Free Trade Agreement instead of giving it an up or down vote that Congress committed to. Her action is unprecedented and extremely unfortunate. I hope that the speaker with change her mind. If she does not, the agreement will be dead, and this will be bad for American workers and bad for America's national security.

INSKEEP: Now as the Mexican and Canadian leaders visit the United States, they may take note of the campaign to succeed President Bush. Republican John McCain proudly describes himself as a free trader. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have competed over who is more critical of free trade deals. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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