‘Extraordinary’ Canada-U.S. trade fight brings lobbyists “out of the woodwork”

‘Extraordinary’ Canada-U.S. trade spat brings lobbyists ‘out of the woodwork’


Fearing more Canadian tariffs against other countries, some steel users are hiring lobbyists for the first time.

The growing trade war between Canada and the United States prompted almost three-dozen new filings in the federal lobbyist registry over the last two months as Canada plotted its response to U.S.-imposed steel and aluminum tariffs.

Even with Canada’s retaliatory tariffs kicking in July 1, lobbyists are predicting the uptick will continue in Ottawa as groups jockey against more expected tariffs to be imposed on other countries.

Of the 86 registrations that mention steel or aluminum as of July 3, 32 were created in the last two months for the first time. A further 13 were created earlier this year and 67 were updated this year, many of which specifically refer to Canada’s response to steel and aluminum tariffs as a key point the registrants plan to lobby officials on. Several companies have multiple registrations with several consultants at the same firm.

On Canada Day, up to $16.6-billion in retaliatory tariffs on U.S. products came into effect, affecting everything from mattresses to ballpoint pens to toilet paper. The Canadian government says this matches the volume of trade affected by U.S. tariffs imposed the month before, tacking 25 per cent onto steel and 10 per cent onto aluminum products headed south. Continue reading ‘Extraordinary’ Canada-U.S. trade fight brings lobbyists “out of the woodwork”

Global Affairs Canada release on aluminum and steel package

Canada stands up for our steel and aluminum workers and industry

June 29, 2018 – Ottawa, Ontario – Global Affairs Canada

Canada’s steel and aluminum industries have made North American steel and aluminum more competitive around the world. It is inconceivable and completely unacceptable to view any trade with Canada as a national security threat to the United States.

The U.S. has a US $2 billion annual trade surplus on iron and steel products with Canada. Canada buys more American steel than any other country in the world, accounting for 50 per cent of U.S. exports. Canadian steel is used in American tanks, and Canadian aluminum in American planes. Indeed, Canada is recognized in U.S. law as part of the U.S. National Technology and Industrial Base related to National Defence.

Today the Government of Canada announced that in direct, measured and proportional response to U.S. tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum, reciprocal surtaxes on $16.6 billion of imports of steel, aluminum and other products from the United States will come into effect July 1, 2018.

Canada continues to work towards full and permanent removal of these unjustified and illegal U.S. tariffs. Continue reading Global Affairs Canada release on aluminum and steel package

Canada’s counter-tariffs and support for industry and communities a ‘first’ step – Steelworkers

TORONTO, 29 June 2018 – “The counter-tariff and community support measures announced today by the federal government is a good first step that will need to be expanded if the trade dispute continues beyond the short-term,” said Ken Neumann, United Steelworkers (USW) National Director.


“The unreasonable imposition of steel and aluminum tariffs by Donald Trump is harmful to communities and workers on both sides of the border. As we have continually said: Canada is not the problem. The balanced and integrated trade between Canada and the U.S. is the wrong target,” said Neumann.


The problem lies with the bad actors on the international scene, such as China, that dump metals, manipulate currency and have dramatically unbalanced trade.


A dollar-for-dollar response to those tariffs is a necessary and prudent reaction to the unprovoked aggression.


The announced assistance to industry via loan guarantees ($1.7B) and innovation funds ($250M) will be helpful to the steel and aluminum industries. The assistance to workers is much more modest.


The adjustment to Employment Insurance for affected workers (work share duration increased to 76 weeks) is welcome. However, more can be done, such as eliminating the different hours needed to qualify for EI and extending the total length a worker can receive EI.


We also need to be looking at additional measures such as an active monitoring mechanism to respond to the tariffs’ effectiveness. If this dispute continues, we will need to consider more supports for training and mobility, such as grants to assist workers in relocation and new opportunities.


“It is important the community/workers support measures are implemented immediately and extend as long as necessary,” said Neumann.


An important aspect the USW has been emphasizing is the safeguard of our borders against the products being dumped into Canada. We would like to see immediate safeguards, rather than simply further consultation on the issue announced today.


Freeland tells Trade Committee that steel and aluminum “support package” is coming

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland says the Canadian government is working on a support package for this country’s steel and aluminum industries in light of stiff American import tariffs.

In testimony in front of the House of Commons trade committee Tuesday, Freeland acknowledged direct support for workers was needed. The minister was joined by senior department officials, including Canada’s Chief NAFTA Negotiator Steve Verheul.

“It is absolutely the case that our steel and aluminum…industries need our support,” she said, noting Finance Minister Bill Morneau and Industry Minister NavDeep Bains are “working on ways” to support the two sectors.

Canada and the United States are embroiled in an escalating trade war. U.S. President Donald Trump has publicly criticized Canadian trade practices. Continue reading Freeland tells Trade Committee that steel and aluminum “support package” is coming


OTTAWA — A new analysis of escalating trade disputes involving the United States warns that a deterioration into an all-out, global trade war would knock North America’s economies into recession.

The report by Scotiabank said if the U.S. breaks all trade ties with its partners — and imposes across-the-board tariffs that average 20 per cent — then Canada and Mexico would see their economies contract in 2020.

For Canada, it predicts the economy would shrink 1.8 per cent.

“A ramp-up in protectionism in the U.S. results in a negative impact on growth in each of the NAFTA partners’ economies,” said the report, co-authored by Scotiabank’s Brett House, Juan Manuel Herrera, Rene Lalonde and Nikita Perevalov.

This worst-case scenario is one of several potential outcomes examined by Scotiabank. Continue reading Trade

NDP gov’t seeking feedback on changes to enviro assessment and impact of major resource projects

VANCOUVER—The B.C. government has opened the doors for public feedback on proposed changes to the environmental assessment regime, which considers the impact of major resource projects on the environment and communities.

Premier John Horgan tasked Environment Minister George Heyman with updating the assessment process last summer to ensure a “strong, transparent” process that respects the legal rights of First Nations.

It was “about time,” Gavin Smith, a lawyer with West Coast Environmental Law, said in a blog post earlier this year, “because our current approach to assessment and planning in B.C. is not working.” Continue reading NDP gov’t seeking feedback on changes to enviro assessment and impact of major resource projects


The implementing legislation for the Trans-Pacific Partnership was tabled today despite the overwhelming evidence that this trade deal is a betrayal to Canadian workers, the manufacturing sector, and our supply management system. The CPTPP will put 58 000 Canadian jobs at risk and jeopardize both the auto industry and supply managed sectors. The NDP urges the Liberal government to put workers first during this difficult time and not accept this trade deal, which has a weak economic forecast according to the government’s own impact analysis.

“If this deal is implemented, tens of thousands of Canadian jobs will be at risk. When negotiating trade deals, the Liberals cannot sacrifice good paying jobs in the Canadian auto industry and farmers in supply managed sectors, such as dairy, poultry, and eggs,” said Tracey Ramsey, the NDP International Trade Critic.

Despite the “progressive” label in the name of the deal, the CPTPP has no gender chapter, weak labour provisions, no Indigenous consent, no environmental protections, and the weakest cultural language ever in a trade agreement. The deal also has low environmental standards, which will further prevent Canada from meeting our climate change commitments, and regressive investor-state dispute settlement provisions, which significantly undermine Canada’s sovereignty and its ability to regulate in the public interest.

“The Liberals negotiated the CPTPP behind closed doors. Piece by piece, Canadians have learned the extent of the problems with this deal. The NDP urges the Liberals to stand up for Canadian workers and refuse trade deals that will cost our country tens of thousands of jobs. Simply put, the CPTPP is a bad deal for Canada,” said Karine Trudel, NDP Deputy International Trade Critic.

China Steel

BEIJING/MANILA (Reuters) – China’s steel output surged to a record in May as mills ramped up production to chase fat profit margins, with a strong outlook for demand likely to keep mills running at nearly full capacity for the rest of the year.


The increased output comes despite China’s efforts to limit production in key areas as part of its anti-pollution campaign and highlights Beijing’s challenge in tackling overcapacity in the world’s top steel producer.

China produced 81.13 million tonnes of crude steel last month, up 5.8 percent from the previous month and 8.9 percent from the same month last year, according to data from the National Bureau of Statistics. Year-to-date output rose 5.4 percent to 369.86 million tonnes.

To view a graphic on China’s Monthly Crude Steel Output, click: reut.rs/2MohKT6


Daily average output climbed 2.4 percent to 2.62 million tonnes in May from April, according to Reuters’ calculations based on the official data.

“Steel mills have been running full-load and adding scrap steel to increase output in order to cash in on strong margins,” said Zhuo Guiqiu, senior analyst at Jinrui Futures.

Given firm demand and smog-battling production curbs in areas including the key steelmaking hubs of Hebei and Jiangsu provinces, analysts say mills can earn up to 900 yuan ($141) by producing a ton of steel at present, not far from more than 1,000 yuan late last year.

The utilization rate at steel firms across the country was above 71 percent from late May, a level last seen before winter production curbs which kicked in in October and lasted through March.

Recent environmental inspections in some 10 regions have forced some mills to cut production. But analysts do not expect the curbs to last long, unless new environmental policies add to pressure on supplies.

“Demand from downstream sectors may be better than expected,” said Zhuo. “The market generally believes the infrastructure construction sector is more active in the second half than in the first half, which could lift demand for steel products.”

Underlining firm demand, steel stockpiles at both mills and traders declined in May despite rising output, Mysteel consultancy data showed.

To view a graphic on Steel products inventory at Chinese mills, click: reut.rs/2JKFm2H


China’s output has been increasing despite its closure of 255 million tonnes in steel production capacity in the past two years, including illegal induction furnaces.

That is part of Beijing’s vow to address overcapacity that has dogged its steel sector for years.

Outside China, Chinese steel companies have built or acquired 13.5 million tonnes of capacity and are building an additional 8.6 million tonnes over the next few years, Morgan Stanley analysts said.


CDNPRESS/Ross Marowits: US Steel Tariffs Prompt Company to Force Worksharing

MONTREAL—ADF Group Inc. says uncertainty over U.S. steel tariffs reduced orders and prompted it to introduce worksharing for employees at its Quebec plant.

“Backlog growth is paramount to our success and unfortunately the uncertainty surrounding the steel import duty was a game-changer for many of our clients and negatively impacted our capacity to successfully close major bids during the first quarter,” co-chair and CEO Jean Paschini said

The company announced temporary layoffs at the end of March.

As of Monday, about 120 employees at its Terrebonne plant have seen their working hours cut 40- to 60-per cent and will receive Employment Insurance benefits to offset the reduction.

ADF said the program approved by the federal government will allow the company to manage its costs until steel fabrication work begins on recently awarded projects.

“As the U.S. trade policy on steel became somewhat clearer and uncertainties subsided in the following weeks we were able to secure $95-million worth of new contracts in the United States before the close of the first quarter,” he told analysts.

The Trump administration imposed 25 per cent tariffs on imports of steel and 10 per cent tariffs on aluminum against several countries effective March 23.

It initially gave Canada, Mexico and the European Union exemptions, but those were lifted June 1, prompting a retaliation from the Canadian government.

Paschini said the company is looking for every opportunity to improve the efficiency of its plants and has a strong pipeline of potential new contracts.

“No doubt the road ahead will be challenging but as we did in the past we will continue to work hard, roll up our sleeves to adapt to a prevailing market condition and trend.”


ADF lost $910,000 or three cents per share in its fiscal first quarter as revenue dropped by more than 40 per cent year-over-year.The loss compared with a year-earlier net income of $354,000, or one cent per share.

Revenue for the period ended April 30 fell to $28.5 million from $48.6 million because of a drop in business volume, as certain fabrication projects were nearly completed before newly-signed contracts were started.

Its order backlog was $158.7 million, up from $85.5 million at Jan. 31. The backlog includes $95 million worth of contract awards in the United States that were announced on April 23.

In addition to Terrebonne, ADF has plants in Great Falls, Mont., and Miami, Fla.

Meili and Steelworkers call for pipeline expiry dates to create jobs and protect public safety

Today NDP Leader Ryan Meili and United Steelworkers Local 5890 President Mike Day called on the Sask. Party government to improve pipeline safety and create jobs by introducing expiry dates for pipelines.

“The tariffs Donald Trump is imposing on Canadian steel will have serious negative impacts on steel manufacturing jobs here in Saskatchewan,” said Meili. “We have more than 100,000 kilometers of pipelines and flowlines in Saskatchewan, and many are old and should be replaced. We saw with the Husky oil spill last year how costly spills can be, and it’s time for the provincial government to introduce expiry dates on pipelines to protect Saskatchewan water and land while also creating jobs. It’s all well and good for Scott Moe to go to Ottawa and Washington, but he needs to show leadership and help workers in Saskatchewan.”

Meili’s proposal would require different expiry date standards for pipe depending on the material and whether the pipe is near a body of water. New pipe manufactured at Evraz steel emits less carbon dioxide than pipe made at most other plants, and existing pipelines can be recycled to make new pipe after being replaced.

In Volume 1 of the 2018 Provincial Auditor’s Report, the auditor noted that there were ongoing problems in pipeline regulation in the province.

“Bringing in expiry dates for pipelines will help to protect good jobs here in Regina, and it will help create construction jobs out on worksites across the province,” said Day. “Steelworkers are concerned about how American tariffs will lead to lost jobs, and this proposal from the Saskatchewan NDP will help create extra demand for steel made right here in Regina.”



OTTAWA – Today, NDP International Trade Critic Tracey Ramsey (Essex) received unanimous consent for her motion calling on all Members of the House of Commons to support the following:


That the House: (a) recognize the importance of Canada’s long-standing, mutually beneficial trading relationship with the United States of America; (b) stand with Canadian workers and communities that directly or indirectly depend on this trading relationship; (c) strongly oppose the illegitimate tariffs imposed by the U.S. government against Canadian steel and aluminum workers; (d) stand in solidarity with the Government of Canada in its decision to impose retaliatory tariffs; (e) remain united in support of Canadian farmers and supply management, which is integral for dairy, chicken, turkey, and egg farming; and (f) reject disparaging ad hominem statements by U.S. officials which do a disservice to bilateral relations and work against efforts to resolve this trade dispute.


“I believe this was an important step to show the solidarity and united front of Canada’s Parliament against the deliberately divisive actions of the President of the United States after his visit to Canada and the G7 meetings this weekend,” stated Ramsey. “Thousands of Canadian workers and communities rely upon trade with our closest neighbour and ally, and it is incumbent for the entirety of Parliament to show stabilty and a united front, in these turbulent times.”


U.S., as well as Canada, will be hurt by Trump’s tariffs on steel and aluminum, C.D Howe study finds

Canada will sustain the most damage from U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminum, but jobs will be eliminated in the United States and gross domestic product in that country will be reduced.

Those are among the conclusions of a study done by the C.D. Howe Institute on the 25-per-cent and 10-per-cent tariffs on steel and aluminum, respectively, that the United States has imposed on imports of the metals from Canada, Mexico, the European Union and other countries.

About 6,000 jobs will be shed in the Canadian economy and GDP in this country will take a hit of 0.11 per cent. The tariffs will lead to approximately 22,700 job losses in the United States and reduce GDP by 0.06 per cent, says a forthcoming paper on the study written by economist Dan Ciuriak and Jingliang Xiao, a research associate.

But if the real aim of U.S. President Donald Trump’s belligerent new trade policy is China, it will miss the target with the steel and aluminum tariffs. Continue reading U.S., as well as Canada, will be hurt by Trump’s tariffs on steel and aluminum, C.D Howe study finds

An insult to Canada U.S. tariffs will damage Pennsylvania’s economy, and America’s and Canada’s, too


As consul general of Canada to Pennsylvania, I have traveled across the commonwealth and my team and I have engaged with business executives, politicians and labor leaders from Pittsburgh to Philadelphia and all points in between.

Everywhere I go, my message is the same: Canada is the United States’ largest trading partner and most steadfast ally. Canadian soldiers have served alongside Americans in difficult places around the world. We have fought and died together.

That is why the decision by the U.S. administration to impose tariffs on Canadian aluminum and steel, citing national security concerns, is so perplexing and hurtful to Canadians. The idea that Canada could be considered a national security threat by selling goods to the United States is, as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau put it, quite frankly, insulting.

The facts are clear: The United States has a $2 billion surplus in steel trade with Canada. Canada buys more American steel than any other country in the world, representing half of all U.S. steel exports. Canada is working directly with the United States to prevent unfairly priced foreign steel and aluminum from flooding the North American market. U.S. tariffs on Canadian metal products will be harmful to industry and workers on both sides of the border, disrupting supply chains that have made North American steel and aluminum more competitive around the world.

Nowhere in the United States will this be felt more acutely than in Pennsylvania. The economies of Canada and the commonwealth are too intertwined for this decision not to significantly affect families and communities across the state, as it will across America.

The decision to levy tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum does nothing to address the very real problem of foreign steel and aluminum overcapacity and dumping. Instead, it will hit American consumers with higher costs and spark retaliation, which will drive up prices and harm both our economies.

In my travels across this great state, I have met with many companies that rely on Canada as both a provider and a consumer of steel and aluminum. Our trade is integrated, fair and balanced.

The relationship between Canada and the United States is deep, multifaceted and, yes, complicated. But one thing is clear: For the past 150 years, it has been powered by a spirit of partnership unparalleled around the world. Targeting Canada for tariffs runs completely counter to the dynamic that has underpinned the economic prosperity and success of the U.S.-Canadian relationship for the last century.

Our disagreement is not with the American people; it is with this particular government policy.

I remain optimistic that, with the support our partners in Pennsylvania and across the United States, common sense will prevail.

PHYLLIS YAFFE, consul general of Canada to Pennsylvania


Your USW South Sask Area Council is looking at doing an OH&S level 1 course. Anyone interested in taking this course, put on by the Steelworkers, is asked to email Mike Day at m.day@usw5890.com or call the office at 306-569-9663


In Solidarity