The Canadian International Trade Tribunal is expected to release its report on Finance Minister Bill Morneau’s use of emergency safeguard measures to shield Canada’s domestic market from seven types of foreign steel.
A three-person panel held hearings. Morneau has until May 12, when his provisional surtaxes are set to expire, to consider the panel’s advice.
“The provisional safeguards have been working and are very important to stabilizing our marketplace,” said Catherine Cobden, president of the Canadian Steel Producers Association.
“Our view is strong that we need to see those continue,” she said, adding she hopes to see the surtaxes stick around for the next three years.
The panel may offer different recommendations for each of the 7 products targeted: heavy plate, concrete reinforcing bar, energy tubular products, hot-rolled sheet, pre-painted steel, stainless steel wire and wire rod.
“Final safeguards are warranted across the board,” Cobden said, calling them “critical for all seven products.”
Canada began applying a provisional surtax of 25 per cent on foreign steel shipments that exceed thresholds based on historical trade volumes for each product.
Normally, governments collect evidence of harm done by imports before applying surtaxes. In this case, surtaxes were imposed in advance of an investigation of their merits.
Was there a harmful ‘surge’?
Canada has separate tariffs in place for U.S. steel imports. Those tariffs are retaliatory, imposed after the U.S. slapped “national security” tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum.