(Reuters) - Canada said on Friday it would enact final special tariffs, called safeguards, to protect Canadian steel workers’ jobs in the face of foreign steel being dumped on the Canadian market.
The Department of Finance said that based on a Canadian International Trade Tribunal (CITT) report the government would enact final safeguards for imports on heavy plate and stainless steel wire. Safeguards are emergency measures allowed under international trade law to respond to a sudden rise in imports.
Some of the new measures include conducting a timely and targeted review of dumping cases and greater flexibility for the Canada Border Services Agency to address price and cost distortions in foreign markets when determining whether dumping has occurred, among others, the finance department said.
“We will always stand up for Canadian workers and businesses, and that means taking action to counter unfair trade practices when merited. ..Our government stands ready to use all legal avenues at its disposal to protect our industry from unfair trade practices and the abuse of our trade remedy system” said Finance Minister Bill Morneau.
The Canadian government had argued safeguards were needed to protect local steel mills from a surge in imports from producers shut out of the U.S. market by President Donald Trump’s metal tariffs.
While producers wanted the safeguards to remain in place, the CITT came out with a report on April 3 that recommended they be kept only for stainless steel wire and heavy plate because of a threat of “serious injury” to the domestic industry.
In response to the CITT recommendations on five additional safeguards, the government will conduct a 30-day consultation with industry people to determine what further protections are required, the finance department said in a statement.
Canadian Steel Producers Association President Catherine Cobden said the government’s decision not to put safeguards for all seven products will have “significant” negative impacts on the steel industry in Canada.
“Our industry is in crisis driven by global overcapacity, US 232 actions, and safeguard measures put in place in other jurisdictions. Job losses are taking place and investments are going elsewhere. The government must act now to support our workers and ensure our ongoing economic viability” Cobden said in a statement.
Reporting by Shanti S Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Sandra Maler