The Trudeau government is taking further steps to ensure that the Canadian and US steel and aluminum industries are not “unfairly” disrupted by foreign imports. This decision follows the Trump administration’s imposition of customs duties on imports of these two metals, for which Canada is exempt until May 1st.
According to a statement released Tuesday by the Prime Minister’s Office, the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) will be able to conduct “new anti-circumvention investigations” that will allow it to “identify and stop companies trying to avoid customs duties “in force in the country.
Foreign companies, it is argued, could, for example, seek to circumvent these rules by slightly modifying their products or having them assembled in Canada or in a third country.
In order to properly determine the applicable tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, the CBSA will also “find it easier to determine whether prices in the exporter’s domestic market, which are used for comparison purposes. , are reliable or distorted.
“We already have very strong measures in place, but we want to make sure of two things: that foreign steel is not unfairly dumped into the Canadian market, and that this steel does not find its way into the North American market. “summarized Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale, who is responsible for the CBSA.
These measures are intended to ensure that there is no transshipment or diversion of low-priced steel from anywhere in the world to the Canadian market. We want to protect our industries from steel and aluminum and these measures are designed to ensure that there is no circumvention of Canadian laws and regulations.
Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety
New committees with representatives of the federal government, provincial and territorial governments, and other interested parties will also be created to “ensure that imports do not harm jobs in Canada and North America,” says the firm. Prime Minister.
Unions will be granted the status to participate in trade remedy proceedings “to determine whether foreign exports are hurting producers” in the country, including hearings before the Canadian International Trade Tribunal.
“We have always assured the Americans that, compared to the diversion [misappropriation, Editor’s note] and these issues, we have always had good measures,” commented Prime Minister Justin Trudeau briefly in the corridors of Parliament. . “But it’s to show that we’re doing even more. This is a good thing. ”
According to the Prime Minister’s Office, no less than 71 trade remedy measures currently target imports of steel and aluminum, but it is important to improve them “even more” in order to “ensure uniformity of the rules of the game. “.
The regulatory changes will be further clarified in the Official Gazette and will be the subject of a 15-day consultation.
Intervention demanded by steel producers
In a letter to Prime Minister Trudeau dated March 13, Canadian Steel Producers Association President Joseph Galimberti urged the federal government to take action to counter the “significant” risk of steel “diversion” to Canada.
He pointed out that 90 countries had exported steel to the United States in 2017, and that the risk that tariffs imposed by the Trump administration would lead to such diversions could be “aggravated” if Mexico, the European Union or other countries were also adopting measures to protect their internal market.
“If only 15% of current US steel imports are diverted to Canada, prices will collapse and import market shares could double, which would provide nearly 50% of domestic demand, and would devastate Canadian steel producers, “wrote Mr. Galimberti.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau himself launched attacks on China and its business practices during a Canadian tour of the sector’s businesses in mid-February. China is the largest steel producer in the world.
In Hamilton, on March 13, he said, for example, that China produces lower quality steel and sells it at a more attractive price to influence world prices.
“Their desire is to put in trouble facilities like this, that pay well to their employees and produce very good quality materials, but can not compete with a country that sells at a loss to control the market,” he said. launched.
Canada is, until further notice, exempt from customs duties of 25% on steel imports and 10% on aluminum imports imposed by the Trump administration until May 1st.