: Steel Quotas won’t work for most Canadian producers say MPs, industry reps (incl. Mark Rowlinson)

Federal MPs representing ridings affected by American tariffs on Canadian steel exports say they’re skeptical that a quota-based system can be a solution to the ongoing trade dispute, even after one major steel producer recently stepped forward to tell the House International Trade Committee that it would support certain quotas in exchange for a duty exemption.

At the committee meeting on Oct. 2, Kaylan Ghosh, president and CEO of Algoma Steel, located in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., recommended the government “explore a quota-based system” as a solution for securing tariff exemptions.

Mr. Ghosh signalled openness to accepting a quota system similar to what Canada and the U.S. agreed to in the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) on autos. Under the agreement in principle, Canada and Mexico will not be slapped with auto tariffs unless exports exceed 2.6 million units annually—a threshold significantly higher than current export volumes.

Such a scenario isn’t ideal for the industry, he said, but given that U.S. President Donald Trump indicated that quotas are his preferred approach, and that other countries have bowed down to those conditions, Canada could negotiate a similar fix.

Mr. Ghosh said a potential system should reflect historic exports levels to the U.S., and have the quota distributed company- and product-wise to ensure fairness and certainty over exports reaching American buyers. His company represents 40 per cent of the Sault Ste. Marie’s economic output, a city that has seen major job losses in the sector in the last generation.

His remarks to MPs came a day after USMCA was formally agreed upon by the three member countries, although the steel and aluminum tariff spat remains unresolved. On Oct. 1, Mr. Trump told journalists on the White House lawn that the tariffs will remain “until such time as we can do something different, like quotas, so that our industry is protected.” Continue reading : Steel Quotas won’t work for most Canadian producers say MPs, industry reps (incl. Mark Rowlinson)

Meeting with Minister Goodale

On Friday October 5th parts of your Union Executive met with Minister Ralph Goodale . In attendance for the Union was myself {Mike Day}, Ryan Mckenzie and  USW Staff Rep Patrick Veinot.

 

There was lots of discussion on what we can recycle, orders that we have down to the U.S. Questions on the Cheniere Line that we did that started the duties. He was also curious about the plants in the states, if they can do what we can. He brought up the LNG project that has been approved and hopes they use our products even though it is his understanding that some of it has to be brought in and can’t be produced here.

 

We brought up the obvious regarding the tariffs and the government leaving out steel and aluminum in the negotiations. How We had discussions with him over 15 months ago when this started coming to light{ section 232} and steel was what brought this to the for front and how could we be left  behind. We’ve seen Wilbur Ross talk about how a new agreement would then naturally have the tariffs go away. This is as important to him as it is to us and he told us they are actively working on it. Freeland and Lighthizer are meeting this week and continuing discussions. I told him we don’t see how a “quota system” is beneficial to anyone this side of border and isn’t good in general.

 

We brought up how dumping has increased here in Canada and their response was that in the next couple weeks we should here some news on the “Safeguards”. Below was just released from the Federal Government last night.

News Release

Backgrounder – Relief for Canadian Businesses from Countermeasures on Certain U.S. Imports

Backgrounder – Support for Canadian Steel Producers Through Provisional Safeguards on Certain Steel Imports

His office is to keep in touch with us to continue these discussions and would like to know what our membership would like to see. The initial response was Duties and Tariffs gone and Unions to have the ability to file trade/dumping cases .

 

Anonymous source says tariffs won’t be lifted anytime soon

Canada does not hold out much hope that Washington will quickly lift tariffs that it imposed on steel and aluminum exports and is resisting a U.S. push to agree to strict quotas, two sources familiar with the matter said.

The administration of U.S. President Donald Trump imposed the tariffs on Canada and Mexico in June, citing national security reasons. Although Canada and Mexico agreed a renewed continental trade deal last week, the measures remain in place.

The Canadian government is pessimistic about the chances of the tariffs being removed soon, said the sources, who asked to remain anonymous, given the sensitivity of the situation. Continue reading Anonymous source says tariffs won’t be lifted anytime soon

No obvious moves to remove tarifs on steel and aluminum says head of Rideau-Potomac Strategy Group – could uranium be next?

When you break norms, those norms are very difficult to re-establish,’ says one former policy adviser to the Canadian Embassy in Washington, D.C.

Despite the safeguards against damaging penalties on Canada’s auto industry under the continent’s newly renamed trilateral trade agreement, the American ability to impose destructive tariffs under the guise of national security protection remains a lingering threat, according to trade experts who warn the damage may have already been done with aluminum and steel.

Since May 31, Canadian aluminum and steel have been subject to tariffs of 10 per cent and 25 per cent, respectively, which were imposed under Section 232 of America’s Trade Expansion Act. The provision in the 1962 legislation allows the U.S. government to impose quotas or tariffs on imported products for national security reasons—a rarely used tool before the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump.

If the U.S. wants to impose more tariffs on Canadian goods, it can say anything is a national security threat, since it’s already done it once, said Eric Miller, a former senior policy adviser to the Canadian Embassy in Washington, D.C., and current head of the Rideau Potomac Strategy Group.

“You have this situation where something that was meant to be a rarely used instrument has now become something that, over the course of the last few months, has basically become a normal part of trade policy that is designed to drive changes and concessions from established U.S. trading partners,” Mr. Miller said.

Canadian negotiators were unable to get the steel and aluminum tariffs lifted as part of the USMCA talks, but speaking to reporters on Oct. 1 in the National Press Theatre, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (Papineau, Que.) flanked by Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland (University-Rosedale, Ont.) said, “moving forward on eliminating the tariffs on steel and aluminum remains a priority for us.”

Ms. Freeland added that Canada is looking to take advantage of the momentum that they have generated through the conclusion of USMCA negotiations to “intensify conversations” on steel and aluminum tariffs.

During negotiations, Canada was able to gain some protections from additional Section 232 actions, through two separate side letters in the trade pact. Canada is exempted from auto tariffs under a threshold of 2.6 million passenger vehicles exported to the U.S. from Canada annually, as well as on all light trucks, and $32.4-billion US worth of auto parts. Canada also was granted a 60-day reprieve before a Section 232 action comes into effect where Canada and the U.S. can negotiate a resolution to the dispute. Continue reading No obvious moves to remove tarifs on steel and aluminum says head of Rideau-Potomac Strategy Group – could uranium be next?

LNG Canada project in BC approved by shareholders

By Canadian Press. Published on Oct 2, 2018

VANCOUVER — Investors have given final approval for a massive liquefied national gas project in northern British Columbia.

The five partners have agreed to the $40-billion joint venture that includes a gas liquefaction plant in Kitimat on B.C.’s coast and a 670-kilometre pipeline delivering natural gas from the northeast corner of the province.

The partners — Royal Dutch Shell, Mitsubishi Corp., the Malaysian-owned Petronas, PetorChina Co. and Korean Gas Corp. — delayed the final investment decision in 2016, citing a drop in natural gas prices. Continue reading LNG Canada project in BC approved by shareholders

Steel and aluminum tariffs remain in place despite new trade deal, Ross says

Commerce Secretary Ross says the new trade deal between the U.S., Canada and Mexico – to be known as USMCA going forward, not NAFTA – will not result in the removal of steel and aluminum tariffs, which he says will be handled separately and have no timeline.

“There are problems specific to steel and aluminum relating to our national defense, and at this point of time, those stay the same,” Ross tells Fox Business Network. “For that matter, there’s also a provision in here that if we put in a [Section] 232 on automobiles in the future, there will be an exemption of current levels from within the Canadian, Mexican manufacturing.”

Ross says a benefit of the new agreement is that 40%-45% of auto content will be produced at wages more than $16/hour, “meant to assure that the U.S. gets its fair share

Ford CEO says Trump’s metal tariffs cost automaker $1-billion

Steel and aluminum tariffs imposed by the Trump administration have cost Ford Motor Co about $1-billion in profits, its chief executive officer said on Wednesday, while Honda Motor Co said higher steel prices have brought “hundreds of millions of dollars” in new costs.

“From Ford’s perspective the metals tariffs took about $1-billion in profit from us,” CEO James Hackett said at a Bloomberg conference in New York, “The irony of which is we source most of that in the U.S. today anyway. If it goes on any longer, it will do more damage.”

Hackett did not specify what period the $1-billion covered, but a spokesman said the automaker’s CEO was referring to internal forecasts at Ford for higher tariff-related costs in 2018 and 2019. Continue reading Ford CEO says Trump’s metal tariffs cost automaker $1-billion

Privacy Group Grievance

Brothers and Sisters

Your Union has filed a Group Grievance regarding what we believe is a violation of Privacy regarding the company’s Medical Report of Injury/ Illness Form. We feel that too much information is being asked for by the company regarding your medical information.

If you are returning to work and need this form completed, please call the office @306-569-9663 to discuss the form and our concerns around the privacy of what they are asking for.

 

In Solidarity.

Full impact of tariffs remains uncertain

Effects of a trade war sparked by the Trump administration’s recent tariffs on various imported materials and products continue to unfold.

The U.S. imposed tariffs on steel, aluminum and other goods from Canada, Mexico and the European Union in early June and on China in early July. These countries imposed tariffs on U.S. goods in retaliation.

The impact of steel and aluminum tariffs is particularly strong and far-reaching. Media reports say there is little foreign steel and aluminum coming into the U.S. now, allowing domestic producers to hike their prices.

Corey Sheets, co-owner of Meadows Mills Inc. in North Wilkesboro, said American steel manufacturers started raising prices when tariffs were simply mentioned. Plate steel prices are up 30 per cent and structural steel prices rose 20 per cent recently, he said.

Meadows Mills makes sawmills, agricultural implements, grain mills and other products, with mostly domestic sales currently. Sheets said the company’s sales are strong and costs may be leveling off. Continue reading Full impact of tariffs remains uncertain

Court against company that fired worker over drug test results

An appeals court has ruled against a company that fired an employee for failing a drug test. The judgment by the Newfoundland & Labrador Court of Appeal is the first since Parliament voted to legalize marijuana.

Justice Gale Welsh dismissed an appeal by the Hibernia Platform Employers’ Organization over the firing of Gary Carroll, a longtime helicopter deck hand on a Hibernia rig. Carroll tested positive for banned tranquilizers under a company Drug And Alcohol Policy permitting tests “after a significant incident or a safety incident as determined by management.” The test followed repeated complaints of misplaced luggage aboard choppers that ferried crew from the offshore platform.

Unifor Local 2121 challenged Carroll’s firing as disproportionate, and the drug test as unnecessary. An arbitration board and lower court agreed, ruling misplaced luggage was not so serious a “safety incident” that it justified testing all eight helicopter deck hands on duty. Unifor argued managers conducted so many drug tests after trivial incidents that it “amounted to random drug testing” in breach of a 2013 Supreme Court ruling that tests could only be performed with cause and consent.

“The employer submits that the board’s decision was unreasonable because the interpretation of the Drug And Alcohol Policy resulted in an interference with management’s right to order drug testing,” wrote Justice Welsh. The Court dismissed the company’s appeal.

The Senate by a June 19 vote of 52 to 29 passed into law Bill C-45 An Act Respecting Cannabis. The legislation to take effect October 17 legalizes recreational marijuana, including public possession of up to 30 grams of dried cannabis. Employers’ groups unsuccessfully appealed to Parliament to amend the bill to permit random workplace drug tests. Continue reading Court against company that fired worker over drug test results

Tim Weisgerber

Brothers and Sisters

It is with great sadness that we have learned of the passing of our Brother Tim Weisgerber. Tim was a great Friend, co-worker and brother who started in Tubular in 1991. Tim will be missed by all who knew him.Our condolences and thoughts are with his Family and Friends. Brothers and Sisters, please take the time to remember our fallen brother. Rest In Peace Timmy!!!

Once we learn of a service or ceremony information will be passed on.

 

Steel makers win in court challenge on Asian anti-dumping

The Federal Court of Appeal in a win for Canadian steelmakers has rejected a challenge of anti-dumping duties by Asian exporters. The Court said Chinese-made steel pipe transshipped through other countries could not evade duties.

“The final determination is made in relation to goods of a certain country and not goods of a certain exporter,” wrote Justice Wyman Webb; “The term ‘exporter’ is not defined in the Special Import Measures Act.”

The Canadian International Trade Tribunal in 2016 cited Japanese traders for dumping steel originating from state-owned mills in China. The Tribunal argued it “was important to look behind the transactions to see who knowingly provided the goods in issue for export to Canada,” the Court noted.

“The goods were dumped during the period under review, and the margin of dumping for the same period was not insignificant,” wrote Justice Webb. The Canada Border Services Agency beginning in 2008 imposed anti-dumping duties of up to 396 percent on Chinese steel products as a threat to Canadian manufacturers.

The 2016 duties were unsuccessfully challenged by a coalition of Japanese exporters including Nippon Steel, JFE Steel, Sumitomo Metal Corp. and others. Local steelmakers that sought the anti-dumping duties included Evraz Inc., a steel pipe manufacturer with facilities in Regina, Red Deer and Camrose, Alta.

Evraz CEO Conrad Winkler in 2017 testimony at the Commons trade committee said price-cutting by Chinese mills had cost Canadian jobs. “Free trade must be fair,” said Winkler.

“China has heavily subsidized and overbuilt its steel industry,” said Winkler. “China has more than 60 percent of the global steel overcapacity, and exports more than ten times the soze of the Canadian market annually.”

“Evraz has suffered job losses due to dumped and subsidized Chinese steel,” said Winkler; “We have to be at the top of our game every day to make a very small margin.”

The Court of Appeal decision follows an earlier ruling by the Trade Tribunal that cited South Korean shippers for price-cutting on steel pipe. Korean imports to Canada increased 580 percent in a single year, 2016, after regulators cited Chinese steel mills for similar unfair trade practices.

Canada has run a trade deficit in steel since 1996. National steel output as a portion of world production has fallen by half in the past 20 years.The Tribunal found the flood of Asian imports triggered a 22 percent price drop in steel product.

 

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

NDP: THE CPTPP TRADE DEAL WILL COST CANADA TENS OF THOUSANDS OF JOBS

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.

Vacation Pay

Please not that the cutoff for the May 4 pay is April 28, 2018 and does not include any May hours.

This year payroll will process the outstanding prior year vacation payout on May 4.

Vacation payout requests can then be processed for the May 18, 2018. Please note these requests need to be submitted by May 11, 2018 in order to process. So for those who take your vacation pay out for the start of May, that will not be processed until the May 18th pay and that is based on how the pay periods fall.

Canada acts to further prevent trans-shipment and diversion of steel and aluminum to protect North American workers against unfair trade

The trans-shipment and diversion of unfairly cheap foreign steel and aluminum is a threat to Canadian jobs and the North American market.

Canada already has one of the toughest enforcement regimes in the world to combat this practice. We currently have 71 trade remedy measures in force on steel and aluminum imports alone. And we are strengthening enforcement further, to stop foreign exporters from avoiding duties meant to level the playing field.

The following regulatory changes will be brought forward and be subject to a 15-day consultation period through the Canada Gazette:

Continue reading Canada acts to further prevent trans-shipment and diversion of steel and aluminum to protect North American workers against unfair trade