MPP David Orazietti summoned the local media to his office this afternoon to let the community know he is urging the federal government to get its act together.
Specifically, to get its trade act together and help out the community's ailing major industrial players Essar Steel Algoma and Tenaris Algoma Tubes.
"We cannot continue to allow Canadian Steel workers' jobs to be put at risk by a weak and outdated federal trade remedy system," said Orazietti, in a statement circulated to reporters. "I strongly support the CSPA's (Canadian Steel Producers' Association) proposed improvements and I urge the federal government to step up and ensure that Canadian steel producers have a fair playing field that meets the new realities of the global marketplace."
While Orazietti is asking for action from the new Liberal government in Ottawa, he took a shot at the previous Conservative federal government for "ignoring" the issue.
SooToday and LOCAL2 journalists are at the ongoing press conference, so check back for full coverage on the announcement.
The following is the full text of a press release from MPP David Orazietti:
Orazietti Launches Website www.FairTradeForSteel.ca, Asks Public to Sign Petition
David Orazietti, Member of Provincial Parliament, is urging the federal government to immediately adopt the Trade Remedy Modernization plan outlined by the Canadian Steel Producers Association (CSPA).
The proposed changes will help to ensure a fair trade environment for Canadian Steel workers.
“We cannot continue to allow Canadian Steel workers’ jobs to be put at risk by a weak and outdated federal trade remedy system,” said David Orazietti MPP for Sault Ste. Marie. “I strongly support the CSPA's proposed improvements and I urge the federal government to step up and ensure that Canadian steel producers have a fair playing field that meets the new realities of the global marketplace.”
The Canadian Steel Industry directly employs over 20,000 workers but their jobs are being seriously threatened by the dumping of foreign steel, most notably by China, India, Russia and Turkey.
In fact, two out of only three fully integrated steel producers in Canada have filed for protection under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act (CCAA); Essar Steel Algoma on November 9, 2015 and U.S. Steel Canada (formerly Stelco) a year earlier.
These unfortunate developments have occurred while off-shore producers continue to dump steel produced by state-owned and subsidized operations, with far greater carbon emissions and limited labour protections.
The former Federal Conservative Government ignored this issue and their appointees on the Canadian International Trade Tribunal (CITT) have failed to recognize the harm done to Canadian producers.
In a letter dated December 1, 2015 to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Sault Ste. Marie, MPP David Orazietti called on the federal government to strengthen the current trade remedy process, which was set up more than 20 years ago.
The letter was also sent to Chrystia Freeland, MP, Minister of International Trade, Amarjeet Sohi, MP, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, Navdeep Bains, MP, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Bill Morneau, MP, Minister of Finance.
Canadian Steel producers are some of the most efficient in the world and can compete on a fair and level playing field but many foreign steel producers do not have the same rules.
The Trade Remedy Modernization plan includes:
A. Providing greater data transparency: improved quality control for inaccurate reporting of manufacturing import data, penalties for inaccurate reporting and the exclusion of freight costs for ‘value for duty’ declarations
B. Strengthening CBSA procedures and methodologies: analyzing foreign subsidies regularly, increasing the frequency of normal value investigations, mandatory on-site verifications of normal values and alternative methodologies to determine dumping
C. Improving CITT operations when it comes to injury findings/duty determination: Ensure a strong dedicated research and legal advisory capacity, standardize practice of consulting parties in advance of finalizing questionnaires for CITT hearings, establishing criteria to streamline the initiation of expiry review and revising timing to launch expiry reviews
D. Allowing for stronger CBSA enforcement of anti-dumping orders: better data analysis, establishing trade remedy circumvention as a priority for AMPS investigations, stiffer penalties and greater publicity of fraudulent imports and consideration of anti-circumvention legislation
“A recent unfair and shortsighted ruling by the CITT deciding Canadian steel plate production is not being injured by dumped and subsidized steel imports makes it clear, more than ever, that the federal government needs to modernize Canada’s trade remedy system,” said Orazietti. “The negative effects of steel dumping are being felt directly by Canadian producers, suppliers and workers as well as their families who are losing their livelihoods. The time for action is now.”
To voice your support, sign the petition for fair trade rules for Canadian steel producers at www.FairTradeForSteel.ca.