Harper urges U.S. to avoid cliff, but looks to Asia as a backup plan

The Canadian Press
Associated Press

BANGALORE, India - Stephen Harper is urging the United States Congress to find a solution to its so-called fiscal cliff.

But in the meantime, the prime minister says his government has backup plans for what will happen if the American economy goes sour again.

One of those plans involves increasing trade with countries outside of the troubled U.S. and Europe — such as India, with its projected 5.8 per cent rate of growth this year.

The fiscal cliff refers to a perfect storm of scheduled tax increases and spending cuts that could slow down the economy if a sharply divided Congress can't agree on how to intervene.

Harper is winding down a six-day trip to India, heavily focused on boosting bilateral trade and investment.

He announced on Thursday that Canada would transform a trade office in this thrumming high-tech town into a full-blown consulate.

The prime minister and his wife Laureen also managed to fit in a cultural stop, visiting a Hindu temple first established in the ninth century.