U.S. President George Bush announced today that he's imposing tariffs of up to 30 percent on some imported steels, but Canada and Mexico will be exempt.
The president (shown last August at the U.S. Steel Group Steelworkers Picnic) announced protective tariffs on imported flat products (30%), tin mill products (30%), hot-rolled bar and cold-finished bar (30%), rebar (15%), certain welded tubular products (15%), carbon and alloy fittings and flanges (13%), stainless steel bar (15%), stainless steel rod (15%), stainless steel wire (8%), and slab (30% on volume above 5.4 million short tons).
Canadian and Mexican imports of these products don't pose a serious threat to US steel producers and are therefore exempt from the tariffs, Bush said.
Bob Runciman, Ontario's Economic Development and Trade Minister, said he was pleased that the new tariffs will not apply to Canada, but warned that Canada must take steps to avoid becoming a dumping-ground for excess foreign steel now that the U.S. has introduced tariffs.
"The Ontario government expects the federal government to do everything it can to promote and defend the interests of the steel industry in this country," Runciman said. "Ontario's steel industry alone provides some 23,000 jobs directly, and tens of thousands more in related manufacturing industries such as the automotive sector. We cannot have these jobs in jeopardy."
United Steelworkers of America
Lawrence McBrearty, Canadian national director of the United Steelworkers of America, expressed similar sentiments.
"The Bush announcement brings a sense of urgency to our need to prevent serious damage as an indirect consequence of the decisive action taken by the Americans," McBrearty said.
"Canada has not been 'saved' by George W. Bush," McBrearty said. "Instead Canada is now challenged to act decisively in defence of Canadian jobs and Canadian industry. With the wait for Bush’s decision over, there should be nothing preventing [Trade Minister] Pierre Pettigrew from announcing a Canadian government plan for safeguard action."
The Steelworkers are asking for:
- close monitoring of imports for evidence of diversion of steel, originally destined for the United States, into the Canadian market
- preparation in advance of a 'special circumstances' application to be filed in the event of diversion. A special-circumstances application permits immediate application of duties.
- retroactive application of dumping duties
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