OTTAWA – The United Steelworkers union (USW) will take an active role in investigations being launched by Canadian authorities into illegal dumping of foreign steel into Canada by several countries.
“Our union will continue to aggressively defend the jobs of steelworkers across Canada who for too long have been harmed by steel imports dumped into our country and sold at unprofitable, below-market prices,” said USW National Director Ken Neumann.
“Over the last two years, after our union won the right to participate in such trade cases, the majority of rulings have gone in our favour, helping to push back against illegal dumping of foreign steel and aluminum products,” Neumann added.
The Canadian International Trade Tribunal (CITT) is launching a preliminary inquiry into the potential damage to Canadian workers and producers of alleged dumping of hot-rolled heavy steel plate and high-strength low-alloy steel plate from Taiwan, Germany, South Korea, Malaysia and Turkey. If the CITT’s inquiry confirms steel dumping by the identified foreign producers, it can impose duties for an initial period of five years.
The CITT decided to launch an inquiry as the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) simultaneously investigates the alleged dumping by the five countries. The investigation followed a dumping complaint by Algoma Steel of Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., where workers are represented by the USW.
“Our members know better than anyone the damage that unfair and predatory trade practices have caused for working families and communities in our country,” said Marty Warren, Ontario Director of the USW, which represents workers at Algoma.
“Too many jobs have been lost due to foreign steel dumping. As we struggle to recover from the economic impact of the pandemic, we will fight back against further threats to our domestic steel industry,” Warren said.
Local union leaders representing Algoma Steel employees are expected to present evidence during the CITT inquiry. Algoma already has announced layoffs due to the market impacts related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Workers and their families are already suffering during this crisis. We can’t allow illegal dumping to threaten more jobs in our community,” said Mike Da Prat, President of USW Local 2251, representing production and maintenance workers at Algoma.
“It will be a disaster for Steelworkers in Sault St. Marie and for workers across Canada if, in addition to the pandemic, our steel industry also is hit with a surge of dumped foreign imports,” said Rebecca McCracken, President of USW Local 2724, representing office, technical and professional staff at Algoma.
Given that Canada may be increasingly targeted by foreign dumping due to contracting global demand, it is critical that the CBSA investigation and the CITT inquiry proceed without delay, Neumann said.
“We know that foreign producers and importers are looking at the Canadian steel market as a destination for dumped steel products like heavy plate,” Neumann said.
“The Government of Canada must ensure that the CBSA continues to do prompt investigations during the pandemic and the CITT must continue to meet its statutory deadlines so that that the Canadian market is protected from unfairly traded goods.”
USW International President Thomas M. Conway said Steelworkers in Canada and the U.S. are leading the battle for fair trade and to preserve manufacturing and middle-class jobs in both countries.
“This fight is fundamental to our economies and to our way of life. Canadian and American Steelworkers can compete with anyone in the world if we’re on a fair playing field. So we are demanding that our governments sanction the bad actors and defend our workers and our domestic industries to ensure they remain on a long-term, sustainable course,” Conway said.