Trump’s trade chief hints at quotas in exchange for end to steel and aluminum tariffs

WASHINGTON—U.S. President Donald Trump will not lift his tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum without imposing other restrictions to replace them, like quotas, Trump’s trade chief suggested to Congress on Tuesday.

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said any resolution to the tariff dispute with Canada and Mexico has to be one that “protects the president’s basic program” on steel and aluminum. Trump’s view and his view, he said, is that the tariffs have been “very successful.”

“I think there’s a sweet spot there that allows us to have a solution that satisfies Canada and Mexico and also maintains the basic integrity of the program,” Lighthizer testified to the Senate Finance Committee, where he was pressed on the tariffs by a series of Republican senators.

Trump repeatedly suggested in 2018 that the steel and aluminum tariffs would be lifted after a deal was reached on a new NAFTA, hinting that he viewed them as a mere negotiating tool.

A deal was indeed reached, but Trump has since argued that the tariffs are effective policy in themselves.

Many others, including big businesses and numerous prominent Republicans, have publicly disagreed. Senior Republicans in Congress have suggested to the administration that they will not be willing to ratify the new NAFTA unless the tariffs are eliminated.

A quota is a limit on the amount of exports a country can make to the U.S.

Quotas on Canadian steel and aluminum could be set so low that it could severely harm Canadian companies or so high that it would have a negligible impact.

When one Republican senator said he had been hearing concerns about possible quotas, Lighthizer said, “Quotas are not necessarily good or bad. It depends on the level of the quota. If the quota’s at the right level, it’s not troubling for your downstream people.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government, which imposed retaliatory tariffs on a host of U.S. products, is in negotiations with Trump’s administration on the issue. Trudeau officials have suggested, though not explicitly said, that Canada’s Parliament will not ratify the new NAFTA until the U.S. tariffs are dropped.

“We need to return to free trade with the U.S. in order to sign a revised free trade agreement,” said Catherine Cobden, president of the Canadian Steel Producers Association. A quota system “constrains growth,” she said, “and we don’t believe in anything that would constrain growth. We should allow free-market forces to rein.”

Trudeau’s government has not ruled out the possibility of accepting quotas, though it opposes them. Politico reported in late 2018 that Ambassador David MacNaughton said Canada would only be willing to live with a quota level high enough to allow significant growth for the Canadian industries.

“Our discussions with the associations representing the affected sectors have told us that quotas are not in their interests and that their goal is to return to free trade,” a Canadian official who requested anonymity to discuss the negotiations said on Tuesday.

Lighthizer would not offer an estimate on when the tariff negotiations might end.

Daniel Dale is the Star’s Washington bureau chief. He covers U.S. politics and current affairs. Follow him on Twitter: @ddale8

U.S. working on steel, aluminum tariff relief for Canada, Mexico, says Lighthizer

The United States is working on a plan that lifts steel and aluminum tariffs off Mexican and Canadian products while preserving the gains of those tariffs overall, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said on Tuesday.

“What I’m trying to do is a have a practical solution to a real problem … get rid of tariffs on these two, let them maintain their historic access to the U.S. market, which I think will allow us to still maintain the benefit of the steel and aluminum program,” Lighthizer told the U.S. Senate Finance Committee in Washington D.C. at a hearing about the World Trade Organization.

U.S. President Donald Trump imposed tariffs — 25 per cent on steel and 10 per cent on aluminum — back in 2018 on national security grounds. Tariffs on both sides of the border have disrupted supply chains and added extra costs for consumers and businesses across a wide range of industries.

This week, the federal government announced $100 million in funding for small and medium-sized enterprise steel and aluminum manufacturers in Canada.

“In the face of unjust and illegal U.S. tariffs hurting businesses and workers on both sides of the border, our government is standing shoulder to shoulder with our hard-working steel and aluminum workers and the users of their world-class products,” Innovation, Science and Economic Development Minister Navdeep Bains said in a statement.

The Canadian government says “escalating commodity prices” and “increasing financial and competitive pressures” have significantly affected small and medium-sized producers operating within Canadian steel and aluminum supply chains.

Donations for our injured Brother

Brothers and Sisters

Your USW 5890 Executive would like to thank you all for your generosity in donating to help our injured brother. We would also like to thank USW 6717{Weyburn}, USW 5971{Regina}, USW 6673{Calgary}, USW Soar Chapter 19, Wheat City Metals Social Club, Denise Deck{Calgary} and Unifor 594{Co-op Refinery} along with each individual that donated. With all of you help we were able to raise over $18,000. His life will never be the same and hopefully this him will help in one way or another. We know he is very grateful for everyone’s support and wishes he could thank everyone of you for thinking of him.

Once again

THANK YOU

In Solidarity

White House official says heavy’ talks underway to lift steel and aluminum tariff

WASHINGTON — A senior White House official said Sunday the optimism from Canada’s ambassador that the two countries will reach a deal on steel and aluminum tariffs is well founded.

On Thursday, Ambassador David MacNaughton told reporters he expected the two countries to reach a positive resolution on the tariffs within the “next few weeks.

“The spirit of what he says is right,” Larry Kudlow, President Donald Trump’s economic advisor, told reporters.

“Look we want this. We want this. And we want Canada with us, and we want Mexico with us. You got to understand we want this. We are unified.”

Kudlow struck the hopeful tone after speaking on a panel with Canada’s Transport Minister Marc Garneau and Jesús Seade, Mexico’s deputy foreign minister for North America, at the National Governors’ Association annual winter meeting in Washington.

During the panel, Garneau pointedly called for the tariffs to be lifted and said they could jeopardize the new NAFTA deal if they’re not.

“We want to ratify the USMCA, but we have a serious challenge in Canada,” he said.

Canada has been lobbying hard for the Trump administration to lift the tariffs — 25 per cent on steel and 10 per cent on aluminum —since they were imposed last June. In response to the tariffs, Canada imposed retaliatory tariffs to pressure the White House to back down, targeting steel and aluminum imports, as well as a variety of items like yogurt and bourbon.

Garneau told the high-profile crowd he is making a “plea” to them to raise the issue with the president.

“Those tariffs are an unnecessary tax which is weighing down on both countries,” he said. “So, I would be remiss if I did not say that this will present us with real challenges as we begin the process of ratification in Canada.”

In a warning that stopped short of promising to hold up the USMCA ratification until the tariffs are gone, he added: “I don’t know if we’re going to get there.”

In response to the pointed remarks, Kudlow told Garneau: “I got the message, minister. I got the message loud and clear.”

He also took no offence, despite Garneau calling the tariffs “frankly illogical” and an “unnecessary tax.” After the panel, Kudlow told reporters he thought he would get a much rougher ride.

“You heard those guys … they were great to me. I thought they were going to start pounding the hell out of me,” he said.

With a majority government in Canada, the process to ratify the trade deal is fairly straightforward, but the path to ratification in the U.S. is much more complicated.

The Democrat-controlled House has to approve the deal — and the party is loath to give Trump a win.

Kudlow said the tariffs Trump imposed on Canada and Mexico are part of the negotiations with Congress to pass the deal. He said there are “heavy discussions” underway, not just with negotiators from the other two countries, but also with Congressional leaders.

In the negotiations to resolve the tariff spat last fall, the United States had proposed quotas on steel and aluminum tariffs as a replacement. At the time, the Canadian Press quoted a confidential source saying the quota proposal was “ridiculous” and Canada wouldn’t accept it.

Kudlow wouldn’t confirm whether they are still part of the tariff talks.

“When the transportation minister mentioned it 13 times in our meeting, I acknowledged that he’s correct and we’re working on it,” he said.

TRADE UPDATE

DUTIES LOWERED ON LARGE DIAMETER PIPE, OTHER TARIFFS REMAIN

For the last six months, our large diameter welded pipe business has weathered great challenges in the face of increased trade barriers that combined have added a near-50 percent mark-up on our sales from Canada to the United States. Today, I am pleased to share with you that the U.S. Department of Commerce issued a determination that will provide at least some relief to ongoing trade-related difficulties our business faces.
In August 2018, following a petition filed by a coalition of U.S. pipe producers, the Commerce Department imposed a 24.38 percent anti-dumping duty on welded line pipe greater than 16-inch outside diameter exported from Canada into the United States. In its final determination issued today, Commerce affirmed the establishment of anti-dumping duties against several countries, including Canada, but established a 12.32 percent anti-dumping rate – half the previous rate – for EVRAZ North America large diameter welded pipe coming into the United States from Canada.
While we are encouraged by this announcement, other duties remain in place, including the Section 232 steel tariffs. For our large diameter welded pipe products, that 25 percent tariff on steel coming into the United States gets added onto the now-12.32 percent anti-dumping rate. An improvement, but still a significant premium our customers must pay.
I shared with you in August some of the steps we are taking to deal with the trade environment we find ourselves in, notably in dealings with our valued customers and as we engage political leaders in Washington and Ottawa. Those efforts continue as we work to push for the lifting of remaining tariffs negatively affecting our business. I’d particularly like to thank all of our colleagues who worked so hard on presenting our position to the Commerce Department, a cross-functional group pulling together sales, logistics and production data from across the company.
We have the highest-quality line pipe in the business and have significant opportunities for growth in the year ahead. Our business has gotten off to a strong start in 2019 and I am counting on all of you to focus on working safely as we improve our quality, increase our productivity and manage our costs all to meet the needs of our customers.

https://www.commerce.gov/news/press-releases/2019/02/us-department-commerce-finds-dumping-and-countervailable-subsidization

Canada quietly moves to resolve steel spat with Mexico

Finance Minister Bill Morneau has quietly reversed a controversial decision to slap a surtax on two types of Mexican steel imports.

Effective Feb. 2, up to a new limit, Mexican energy tubular products (such as those used to build pipelines) and wire rod shipments will no longer cost an extra 25 per cent under Canada’s emergency ‘safeguard’ measures.

Steel from other countries that don’t have free trade agreements with Canada will continue to face the extra tax. 

For Mexico alone, new tariff-free thresholds have been set for the 200-day period to which the temporary surtax applies. The 72,820-tonne quota for tubular products and the 16,776-tonne quota for wire rod are based on an average volume of Mexican imports in recent years, plus a bit of growth, according to Morneau’s office.

Surtax already paid by purchasers will be refunded.

“We made those changes in recognition of Canada and Mexico’s mutual rights and obligations under NAFTA,” Morneau’s spokesperson Pierre-Olivier Herbert told CBC News this week. The safeguards, he said, meet the government’s goal of “protecting steel producers from a harmful surge of imports and minimizing trade disruptions for Canadian businesses.”

Canada’s emergency safeguard measures on seven categories of steel imports (just two of them from Mexico) began last October. They were introduced to prevent dumping of steel in Canadian markets in the wake of the United States’ decision to impose 25 per cent tariffs on steel imports.

Mexico strongly objected to being lumped in with other countries, accused Canada of being unfairly protectionist and threatened to retaliate against Canada — possibly by bringing a case before the World Trade Organization (WTO).

The dispute further strained an already-tense Canada–Mexico relationship in the final weeks leading up to the signing of the revised North American trade agreement on Nov. 30.

Both countries failed to persuade the U.S. to lift its steel and aluminum tariffs before the signing. 

Canada’s surtax suggested Mexican steel is unfairly traded, just as Mexico was struggling to prove the opposite to the Americans.

Mexican said the two taxed products represented 20 per cent of Mexico’s global steel exports.

The decision to target tubular products also worried Canada’s energy sector. Already dealing with low commodity prices and layoffs, the energy industry now faced an extra tax on its production inputs as well.

Negotiations that weren’t publicized in the media led to the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between Canada and Mexico on Jan.16.

In the MOU, Mexico agreed to not initiate any trade disputes against Canada on the validity of the safeguards. (Other countries may still do so.)

Mexico also agreed to “immediately attend to any backlog of Canadian steel exports at the Mexican border” and ensure that Canadian exports are not unduly delayed — another way Mexico could have retaliated.

Trade tribunal considering future safeguards

Hearings testing the evidence for and against the emergency safeguards were held at the Canadian International Trade Tribunal (CITT) last month.

Domestic steel producers tried to prove the extra safeguards were protecting their businesses from unfairly-traded cheap foreign steel, while manufacturers and other importers argued the surtaxes had inflated their input costs, putting jobs and entire businesses at risk.

At the conclusion of a 200-day period that started in October, Morneau must decide whether to continue the surtax. The tribunal will make its recommendations later this spring.

The CITT asked for an extra $2.1 million beyond its usual budget to conduct this inquiry, which lasted Jan. 7-24 and produced stacks of submissions.

As arguments before the CITT began on energy tubular products, the Canada–Mexico MOU had not been disclosed. Some of the interested parties learned Mexico cut a deal only after the hearings concluded.

Tenaris, a company that imports steel products from its Mexican production facilities into Canada, laid off an additional 95 Canadian employees at its Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. facility on Jan. 25.

However, it’s not clear there’s a direct relationship between its Mexican business and this decision to cut its Canadian workforce.

“The Trudeau government is out there saying … this is all about protecting Canadian steel jobs,” said Cyndee Todgham Cherniak, a trade lawyer for other clients participating in the safeguards inquiry.

“What you’ve got in the meantime is the energy sector in Alberta having to pay more for Canadian steel, and not being in a position to afford it at this point in time. It’s causing layoffs in the manufacturing sector because they can’t afford the higher price.”

In some cases, it’s now cheaper to import final products from China — even as Chinese imports face tariffs — than to manufacture them in a North American supply chain so burdened with tariffs and surtaxes, she said.

“When you strip it away, it’s about collecting additional revenue at the border on steel that’s needed by Canadians, and passing that cost on to the Canadian consumer and businesses,” she said.

Lucrative for government, but risky?

CBC News has asked the Finance Department several times how much revenue the steel safeguards raised for Canada’s treasury since October. No figures have been released.

Finance has disclosed how much it collected in retaliatory tariffs on U.S. imports: $839 million in the first six months leading up to Dec.31.

For its part, the U.S. treasury collected over US$931 million in duties on Canadian steel imports between June and October alone.

Earlier this month, the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) instigated an anti-dumping and countervailing duty investigation of fabricated structural steel components from Canada, China and Mexico.

Canada previously launched a similar investigation of fabricated steel from other countries, and that appears to have drawn the American industry’s attention, Todgham Cherniak said. In today’s trade climate, it’s not clear that Canada will be able to separate itself from China and Mexico in the Trump administration’s eyes.

The U.S. ITC investigation will compare the price Canadian companies charge U.S. customers to what it costs to produce these steel components (which could be  more now, thanks to this extra taxation on steel inputs) and judge whether such prices are fair.

But the pricing in U.S. sales contracts could predate the tariffs and surtaxes that started in the second half of 2018.

The ITC investigation also could consider whether the Canadian government is unfairly subsidizing Canadian steel components. The federal government’s $2 billion assistance package for steel producers, meanwhile, continues to roll out. 

“We are in an age where the finding of injury in anti-dumping cases involving steel is quite common,” Todgham Cherniak said. “Are [American] steel producers bringing cases because they know they can? Probably.”

The five years of protection a U.S. producer could get from winning a dumping case could outlast the Trump administration’s “national security” tariffs, which are being challenged in WTO arbitration by several countries.

Some U.S. lawmakers also are refusing to vote to ratify the new NAFTA if these steel tariffs remain in place. “It’s messy,” Todgham Cherniak said

Steelworkers lead protest over dismissal of criminal charges in death of truck driver

Labour activists yesterday protested the dismissal of criminal charges against a concrete company accused of negligence in a truck driver’s death. Cabinet two years ago promised to step up enforcement of a law that made employers criminally liable for needless industrial accidents.

“The consequences of workplace deaths and injuries must be more than a cost of doing business,” Marty Warren, Ontario director of the United Steelworkers, yesterday said in a statement: “Since the law was enacted, there have been more than 15,000 workplace-related deaths in Canada.”

Rainbow Concrete Ltd. of Sudbury, Ont. and the company’s owner in 2018 were charged with criminal negligence causing death. Charges followed a fatal 2017 accident in which a Rainbow truck driver was crushed by falling concrete at the company plant.

Crown prosecutors in a plea deal allowed Rainbow to admit guilt in exchange for payment of a $1,000 fine and $200,000 in damages to the trucker’s widow. All criminal sanctions were waived.

“Abandoning the criminal prosecution of a company’s owner in exchange for a $1,000 fine against the company and a gradual, $200,000 payment to the grieving family does not provide justice,” said Ken Neumann, United Steelworkers national director.

Parliament in 2003 passed Bill C-45 An Act To Amend The Criminal Code that extended liability to corporate officers who fail in their “legal duty to take reasonable steps to prevent bodily harm” on worksites. The bill followed the fatal 1992 Westray Coal explosion at Plymouth, N.S. in which the mine operator, Curragh Resources Inc., was charged with manslaughter and criminal negligence after RCMP alleged “wanton and reckless disregard” for miners.

The Westray charges were dismissed in 1997 following lengthy appeals that went to the Supreme Court. The Canadian Labour Congress in 2017 counted only four successful prosecutions under the Act.

“There is this culture where a workplace fatality is considered a health and safety issue, not a role for the criminal justice system,” Hassan Yussuff, president of the Labour Congress, earlier told reporters. “Crown prosecutors have been quite reluctant to apply the Criminal Code, and police have been reluctant to investigate.”

Labour Minister Patricia Hajdu in 2017 promised more vigorous enforcement of the Westray law. “We will do more to ensure that labour inspectors and law enforcement officials are properly trained in the provision of the law, and that they coordinate effectively to ensure the possibility of a charge for criminal negligence resulting in serious injury or death is not overlooked,” said Hajdu.

Union executives at the time expressed skepticism. “Honestly, I don’t see any meat on the bones,” said Sylvia Boyce, United Steelworkers health and safety coordinator. “What is it the government is going to do exactly?”

DeWALT recalls drills due to shock hazard

  Greetings. Please be advised of the following recall. From the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission:

Name of product:
DEWALT DWD110 and DWD112 drills

Hazard:
The drill’s wiring can contact internal moving parts, posing a shock hazard.

Remedy:
Repair

Recall date:
February 5, 2019

Units:
About 122,000 (in addition, about 8,000 were sold in Canada) Photo top: Recalled drill, the DWD110 and DWD112 drills are similar in appearance. Consumers should check the label to determine their specific drill.

Photo bottom: Recalled DWD112 Drill showing location of model number and date code. The date code pictured is not within the recall range. Photos courtesy of www.cpsc.gov.

PROFIT SHARING DISCUSSIONS

As we have mentioned previous, the profit sharing discussions were to be scheduled in Toronto for Feb 13,2019. Due to weather in Toronto both the Unions and Company’s flights into Toronto have been canceled. We are working on securing another date as soon as possible and when that is know it will be passed on to our membership.

MEMBER ASSISTANCE

Brothers and Sisters,

In regards to yesterdays very unfortunate accident your union is asking for your assistance. We would like to collect money for our injured brother and his family and our looking for volunteers from each shift in each department to take up the collection. Anyone wishing to help out please call the office and talk to Mike Day or email at m.day@usw5890.com. We have thought about a go fund me page but have decided as this will all go directly to them this is the best option.

In solidarity.

Fight Against U.S. Anti-Dumping and CVD Trade Tariffs on Canadian Fabricated Structural Steel

MARKHAM, Ontario, Feb. 05, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The Canadian Institute of Steel Construction (CISC) strongly opposes the Petitions for the imposition of antidumping and countervailing duties on certain fabricated structural steel from Canada, filed by the American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC) on February 4, 2019.

“AISC’s allegations that these products from Canada are unfairly traded and cause injury to U.S. producers of fabricated steel products are baseless,” says Ed Whalen, President & CEO of the CISC. “The negative effects of the Section 232 steel tariffs are the more likely cause of injury for the U.S. downstream steel sector, not Canada. Canada and the U.S. have been in each other’s markets for generations.”

Canadian fabricators of structural steel compete fairly in worldwide markets, including the United States. We offer high quality fabricated steel produced with significant experience in design and engineering with unique design-assist/engineering capabilities, delivered timely to customers. In addition, a significant number of Canadian fabricators have made important investments in the United States, such as establishing American subsidiaries and affiliates that produce fabricated structural steel and employ U.S. workers.

We are confident that the investigations will prove that imports from Canada are fairly traded and cause no injury to U.S. producers. We will vigorously defend our industry’s interests in these investigations.

BACKGROUND
On February 4, 2019, the AISC launched a trade action against China, Mexico and Canada on certain fabricated structural steel products. The U.S. Department of Commerce will be investigating these three countries for evidence of dumped and subsidized products. The U.S. International Trade Commission will be investigating whether the U.S. industry is being materially injured or threatened with material injury from the subject imports.

ABOUT CISC
The Canadian Institute of Steel Construction (CISC) is Canada’s voice for the steel construction industry, providing leadership in sustainable design, advocacy, construction, efficiency, quality and innovation. The CISC’s efforts aim to advance the use and benefits of steel, increase Canadian market share, as well as advocate for a diverse community made up of manufacturers, fabricators, service centres, erectors, consultants, detailers, industry suppliers, owners and developers.

The Canadian steel construction sector is a vibrant $5 billion industry, which employs over 130,000 people in its supply chain.

American Institute of Steel Construction files antidumping petitions on Canadia imports of fabricated structural steel

The American Institute of Steel Construction, LLC (petitioner), on February 4, 2019, filed antidumping (AD) and countervailing duty (CVD) petitions on imports of certain fabricated structural steel from Canada, China and Mexico.

The U.S. AD law imposes special tariffs to counteract imports that are sold in the United States at less than “normal value.” The U.S. CVD law imposes special tariffs to counteract imports that are sold in the United States with the benefit of foreign government subsidies. For AD/CVD duties to be imposed, the U.S. government must determine not only that dumping and/or subsidies are occurring, but also that there is “material injury” (or threat thereof) by reason of the dumped and/or subsidized imports. Importers are liable for any potential AD/CVD duties imposed. In addition, these investigations could impact purchasers by increasing prices and/or decreasing supply of certain fabricated structural steel.

Scope

The merchandise covered by this investigation includes carbon and alloy (including stainless) steel products such as angles, columns, beams, girders, plates, flange shapes (including manufactured structural shapes utilizing welded plates as a substitute for rolled wide flange sections), channels, hollow structural section (HSS) shapes, base plates, plate-work components, and other steel products that have been fabricated for assembly or installation into a structure (fabricated structural steel). Fabrication includes, but is not limited to, cutting, drilling, welding, joining, bolting, bending, punching, pressure fitting, molding, adhesion, and other processes.

Fabricated structural steel products included in the scope of this investigation are products in which: (1) iron predominates, by weight, over each of the other contained elements; and (2) the carbon content is two percent or less by weight.

Fabricated structural steel is covered by the scope of the investigation regardless of whether it is painted, varnished, or coated with plastics or other metallic or non-metallic substances. Fabricated structural steel may be either assembled; disassembled, but containing characteristics or items, such as holes, fasteners, nuts, bolts, rivets, screws, tongue and grooves, hinges, or joints, so that the product(s) may be joined, attached, or assembled to one or more additional product(s); or partially assembled, such as into modules, modularized construction units, or sub-assemblies of fabricated structural steel.

Products under investigation include carbon and alloy steel products that have been fabricated for erection or assembly into structures, including but not limited to, buildings (commercial, office, institutional, and multi-family residential); industrial and utility projects; parking decks; arenas and convention centers; medical facilities; and ports, transportation and infrastructure facilities.

Subject merchandise includes fabricated structural steel that has been assembled or further processed in the subject country or a third country, including but not limited to painting, varnishing, trimming, cutting, drilling, welding, joining, bolting, punching, bending, beveling, riveting, galvanizing, coating, and/or slitting or any other processing that would not otherwise remove the merchandise from the scope of the Investigation if performed in the country of manufacture of the fabricated structural steel.

Fabricated structural steel may be attached, joined, or assembled with non-steel components at the time of importation. The inclusion, attachment, joining, or assembly of non-steel components with fabricated structural steel does not remove the fabricated structural steel from the scope.

All products that meet the written physical description are within the scope of this investigation unless specifically excluded. Specifically excluded from the scope of this investigation is certain fabricated steel concrete reinforcing bar (“rebar”). Fabricated rebar is excluded from the scope only if (i) it is a unitary piece of fabricated rebar, not joined, welded, or otherwise connected with any other steel product or part; or (ii) it is joined, welded, or otherwise connected only to other rebar.

Also excluded from this scope is fabricated structural steel used for bridges and bridge sections. For the purpose of this scope, fabricated structural steel used for bridges and bridge sections is defined as fabricated structural steel that is used in bridges and bridge sections and that conforms to American Association of State and Highway and Transportation Officials (“AASHTO”) bridge construction requirements or any state or local derivatives of the AASHTO bridge construction requirements.

Also excluded from this scope are pre-engineered metal building systems. For the purposes of this scope, pre-engineered metal building systems are defined as complete metal buildings that integrate steel framing, roofing and walls to form one, pre-engineered building system and are designed and manufactured to Metal Building Manufacturers Association guide specifications. Pre-engineered metal building systems are typically limited in height to no more than 60 feet or two stories.

Also excluded from this scope are steel roof and floor decking systems designed and manufactured to Steel Deck Institute standards.

Also excluded from the scope are open web steel bar joists and joist girders that are designed and manufactured to Steel Joist Institute specifications.

The products subject to the investigation are currently classified in the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) under subheadings: 7308.90.9590, 7308.90.3000, and 7308.90.6000.

The products subject to the investigation may also enter under the following HTSUS subheadings: 7216.91.0010, 7216.91.0090, 7216.99.0010, 7216.99.0090, 7228.70.6000, 7301.10.0000, 7301.20.1000, 7301.20.5000, 7308.40.0000, 7308.90.9530, and 9406.90.0030.

The HTSUS subheadings above are provided for convenience and customs purposes only. The written description of the scope of the investigation is dispositive.

Alleged Dumping Margins

The petitioner alleges the following dumping margins:

  • Canada: 31.46 percent
  • Mexico: 41.39 percent
  • China: 218.85 percent

The petitioner identified numerous possible subsidy programs, but did not allege specific subsidy rates.

Estimated Schedule of Investigations

  • February 4, 2019 – Petition is filed
  • February 25, 2019 – DOC initiates investigation
  • February 26, 2019 – ITC staff conference
  • March 21, 2019 – Deadline for ITC preliminary injury determinations
  • May 1, 2019 – Deadline for DOC preliminary CVD determination, if not postponed
  • July 5, 2019 – Deadline for DOC preliminary CVD determination, if fully postponed
  • July 15, 2019 – Deadline for DOC preliminary AD determination, if not postponed
  • September 3, 2019 – Deadline for DOC preliminary AD determination, if fully postponed

Ottawa calls Ford gov’t call to drop retaliatory tariffs “unilateral surrender” to Americans

Ottawa dismissed a call from Ontario’s economic development minister Monday to drop retaliatory tariffs against the United States, saying doing so would mean “unilateral surrender” to the Americans.

The federal government applied tariffs on $16.6-billion worth of American imports of steel, aluminum and other products after the U.S. imposed steel and aluminum levies last year.

Ontario’s Economic Development Minister Todd Smith had said earlier on Monday that the tariffs are hurting industries and workers in both countries, and if Canada dropped its countermeasure tariffs the U.S. could drop theirs.

Federal Economic Development Minister Navdeep Bains rejected the suggestion, saying in a statement that his government has been hard at work pressuring the Americans to end the trade dispute.

“The Ford government’s call for Canada to unilaterally and unconditionally remove its counter-tariffs would equal unilateral surrender to the Americans,” Bains wrote. “The reciprocal tariffs are critical to pressuring the Americans to end this dispute once and for all.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has discussed the tariffs over the phone with U.S. President Donald Trump and Finance Minister Bill Morneau has met with U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. Bains said the last time any Ontario official visited Washington was five months ago.

“While we’re standing up against illegal U.S. tariffs and supporting steel and aluminum workers in Ontario, Doug Ford’s government is nowhere to be seen,” Bains wrote. “We’re not aware of any efforts by the Ontario government to persuade any American leaders to drop the tariffs — no meetings, no phone calls.”

Smith noted that Premier Doug Ford met at the auto show in Detroit with car makers, who are concerned about the tariffs.

Doug Ford, Ontario’s premier, speaks during an event at the Economic Club of Canada in Toronto, Ontario, Canada on Monday, Jan. 21, 2019. Cole Burston/Bloomberg

“We continue to burn up the phone lines in the U.S. to remind them that these tariffs are hurting them just as much as they’re hurting us,” he said. “Ontario is doing its part, now it’s time for the federal government to do theirs.”

Ford has suggested to the federal government that Canada’s tariffs should be dropped first, Smith said, though he admitted there is no indication doing so would lead the U.S. to in turn remove its tariffs.

“But clearly something has to be done,” Smith said. “These tariffs have been in place since June of last year and there’s been no movement on this.”

Smith and Quebec Economy and Innovation Minister Pierre Fitzgibbon sent a letter Monday to Morneau, calling on Ottawa to secure the permanent removal of all tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum.

Both Algoma Steel (TSX:AGA) and the Canadian Steel Producers Association tweeted that the retaliatory measures are necessary.

The tariffs were imposed last year by the U.S., and the American commerce secretary has said they were designed to address the world’s overproduction and overcapacity of steel. The federal Liberals were criticized last fall for signing a new North American trade pact, which includes the U.S., without securing any guarantees from Washington that it would lift the levies.

Ottawa has announced a financial aid package for industries caught in the crossfire, including up to $2 billion in new funding and support for workers in steel, aluminum and manufacturing sectors.

Canada has rejected the premise of the American duties — that its metals exports pose a national-security threat to the U.S. — and has been fighting for the removal of the tariffs.

The United States is also coming under pressure from American automakers, aluminum producers, manufacturers and farmers to put an end to the tariff standoff.

Industry emissaries are warning that Trump’s tariffs on Mexican and Canadian steel and aluminum, as well as their reciprocal countermeasures, are rapidly undermining whatever benefits the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement will produce once it takes effect.