TORONTO, MONTREAL, 8 March 2018 – Canada’s steel and aluminum producers must be permanently exempted from U.S. tariffs, the United Steelworkers (USW) says.
“The evidence is clear and overwhelming. Canadian steel and aluminum exports are not part of the problem that the U.S. administration is trying to address through its tariff measures,” said USW National Director Ken Neumann said today.
“There is no justification to deny a permanent exemption from tariffs for Canadian steel and aluminum imports,” Neumann said.
“The United Steelworkers has successfully lobbied against the imposition of tariffs on our steel and aluminum exports to date. Our union has led the labour movement in taking the message to the White House that Canada is not the problem,” he said.
U.S. President Donald Trump today announced that Canadian steel and aluminum producers will be granted a temporary exemption from tariffs and that the exemption could be extended based on progress in renegotiations of the North American Free Trade Agreement.
“We are relieved by the temporary exemption, to the extent that it recognizes Canada is not the problem. But a temporary exemption creates considerable economic uncertainty for Canadian producers and will be counter-productive to making progress in the NAFTA renegotiations. That’s why the exemption must be permament,” Neumann said.
“The U.S. government launched an investigation into steel and aluminum imports to respond to countries whose trade practices represent a threat to American national security,” Neumann noted.
“The evidence confirms there are many countries that engage in unfair, illegal and predatory trading practices that have created a global steel glut and depressed prices affecting all steel and aluminum markets,” said Marty Warren, USW Director for Ontario and Atlantic Canada.
“These ‘bad actor’ countries, including China, Egypt, India, Malaysia, Korea, Russia, Turkey and Vietnam, have harmed the entire North American market. Canada is not one of these bad actors,” Warren said.
“The U.S. and Canada enjoy fair trade and have integrated manufacturing markets. Unjustified tariffs would cause economic harm and job losses in both countries,” said USW Quebec Director Alain Croteau.
“There is no justification – related to trading practices or national security – for U.S. tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum. We are calling on the U.S. administration to recognize this reality,” Croteau said.
“Clearly, a permanent exemption for Canadian producers is warranted,” he said.
“The USW and our allies in both countries will continue to aggressively lobby the U.S. government to secure a permanent exemption from U.S. tariffs for Canadian steel and aluminum producers,” said Stephen Hunt, USW Director for Western Canada.
“Canadian workers and families need our federal government to stand up for them and demand that the American administration grant an immediate, permanent exemption from tariffs,” Hunt said.
The Canadian government must take action to prevent a surge of offshore steel and aluminum imports into Canada as a result of U.S. tariffs imposed on other countries, the USW says.
“The Canadian government must demonstrate a commitment to address the very real problem of cheap imports directly or indirectly entering the North American market,” Neumann said.
“The federal government must be prepared to use all measures at its disposal, including targeted safeguard actions, government-initiated trade cases and increasing resources to the Canada Border Services Agency to investigate and respond to increased dumping of product into the Canadian market,” he said.
“The Canadian government must follow through on its promise to allow trade unions the full right to participate in all aspects of trade cases, as well as the right to file trade complaints under the Special Import Measures Act. Full participation of unions in trade remedy proceedings is a critical component of an effective trade remedy system.”