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)