ROME (Reuters) - U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi defended the United States against accusations of protectionism during a trip to Italy on Monday, following concerns about a Buy American provision in the U.S. stimulus plan.
Somewhere in the mix of things, someone has decided that America has become, is becoming, more protectionist. I don't think that is the case, Pelosi told reporters at the Italian parliament.
The U.S. Congress adopted a $787-billion stimulus plan last week that would require public infrastructure projects to use U.S. steel and goods, a clause that has worried some trading partners, not least China and the European Union.
Pelosi said the United States appreciated the value of global trade as a motor for economic growth. She also noted that many workers had lost their jobs and were particularly exposed to the global downturn.
We want them to be assured that we're looking out for their interest as we look to grow the U.S. economy. I don't think that's protectionism. I think that's what any country would do for its workers, she said.
President Obama is not a protectionist president.
G7 financial leaders, fearing a 1930s-style resurgence in protectionism, pledged at a weekend meeting in Rome to do all they could to fight recession without distorting free trade.
(Reporting by Phil Stewart; Editing by Kevin Liffey)