Morneau launches consultations on safeguards to prevent steel flooding
|Toronto Star 14 Aug 2018 at 14:29|
OTTAWAâThe federal government is planning to introduce safeguards to tackle a flood of steel entering the Canadian market due to âexceptional circumstances.â
Finance Minister Bill Morneau said the government is embarking on a 15-day consultation to explore safeguards it can use to mitigate potential negative affects to Canadian steel producers in the event foreign steel producers divert U.S.-bound product to Canada because of recent U.S. tariffs on aluminum and steel.
âCanada is now at risk of a surge,â Morneau, who noted that the country is already seeing an increase in imports, said on Tuesday.
âWe want to make sure we keep a market that is stable and that we deal with import surges in a way that doesnât harm businesses and as a result harm Canadian producers and workers.â
Morneau, who announced the consultation at Hamilton, Ont.-based manufacturer ArcelorMittal Dofasco, said the governmentâs research into the steel industry will focus on steel plates, concrete reinforcing bars, energy tubular products, hot-rolled sheets, pre-painted steels, stainless steel wires and wire rods.
He said the government has already been âextensively consultingâ with allied countries about what can be done to protect Canada from surges, but the consultation will expand to hearing from Canadian producers and users of steel.
Canada, he said, is allowed to introduce safeguards under international trade rules if âexceptional circumstancesâ are met. He said the risk of harm to Canadian steel producers and workers would qualify and if the government feels the issue is severe enough, it could refer it to the Canadian International Trade Tribunal.
He called the U.S. tariffs that kickstarted the need for the consultation âunacceptable,â but said the consultation is very separate from the ongoing talks between Canada, the U.S. and Mexico to rewrite the North American Free Trade Agreement at the behest of U.S. President Donald Trump.
âWe have clearly seen some tariffs that have been put in place that we donât agree make sense based on our strong and enduring relationship with the U.S.,â he said. âTariffs are bad for everyoneâŚ we obviously are going to continue to advocate not only to roll back these tariffs, but not to consider any further tariffs because we think they are destructive.â