The federal government is taking steps to prevent the diversion of foreign steel products into Canada, Finance Minister Bill Morneau announced at a steel plant, ArcelorMittal Dofasco, August 14.
Morneau said the government is opening a two-week public consultation period to come up with possibilities for safeguards on the imports of seven steel products.
“The government will always stand up for Canadian workers and Canadian businesses, and that means taking action to counter unfair trade practices when merited,” Morneau said.
“International trade unquestionably strengthens Canada’s economy, but it must be fair and open, and it must result in growth that works for everyone.”
The move comes in response to the United States’ imposition of a 25% tariff on steel and a 10% tariff on aluminum shipments which the country claimed were related to “national security.”
This is not the first time Canada has responded to the U.S. tariffs. In May, Canada announced it would impose duties of 25% on steel and 10% on aluminum – matching those imposed by the U.S. – on all shipments of Canadian steel into the U.S, beginning June 1.
In May, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called the tariffs “an affront to the long-standing security partnership between Canada and the United States,” and pointed out the U.S. has a US$2 billion surplus in steel trade and that Canada buys half of U.S. steel exports and more U.S. steel than any other country.
Federal Minster of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland said the latest steps are necessary to protect the steel and aluminum industries.
“We have taken actions to end fraudulent transshipment and to further prevent dumping of unfairly priced imports into the Canadian market,” she said.
These safeguards are permitted and imposed under international trade law and are considered emergency measures “in exceptional circumstances to respond to import surges that may harm Canadian producers and workers.”
The seven steel products being targeted in the consultation process are steel plate, concrete reinforcing bar, energy tubular products, hot-rolled sheet, pre-painted steel, stainless steel wire and wire rod. The Department of Finance said additional safeguards are also possible.
Emma Crawford Hampel / Business In Vancouver