Toronto and Montreal – There is no justification, either on economic or national security grounds, for the imposition of U.S. steel and aluminum tariffs on Canada, says the United Steelworkers (USW), which represents tens of thousands of steel and aluminum workers in both countries.
“Canada has been exempted from such tariffs in the past because all evidence demonstrates that there are no economic or security reasons whatsoever to warrant such measures,” USW Canadian Director Ken Neumann said today.
“The overwhelming evidence is that Canadian steel and aluminum exports are not part of the problem that the U.S. administration is trying to address. Imposing tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum risks harming the U.S. and Canadian economies and threatens thousands of jobs in both countries,” Neumann said.
U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross announced on May 31 that the Trump administration will impose tariffs of 25 per cent on Canadian-made steel exports to the U.S. and 10 per cent on Canadian aluminum exports, beginning tomorrow (June 1).
USW leaders in Canada and the U.S. had successfully lobbied against tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum, leading the U.S. administration to grant temporary exemptions to Canadian producers.
“Canada is not the problem. The decision to remove Canada’s exemption is unacceptable and calls into serious question the design and direction of the U.S. Administration’s trade policy,” said Leo W. Gerard, the USW’s International President.
“The decision also ignores the fact that Canada’s steel and aluminum exports to the U.S. are fairly traded and that Canada has shown its willingness to strengthen its laws as well as its co-operation with the U.S. to fight unfair trade,” Gerard said.
“Imposing tariffs on Canadian producers is an untenable position for the U.S. economy,” said USW Quebec Director Alain Croteau.
“The American economy relies on our aluminum and steel production, as part of our heavily integrated manufacturing markets that benefit workers in both countries. Unjustified tariffs will cause economic harm in both countries,” Croteau said.
“Canada and the U.S. need to focus on countries whose predatory and destructive trade practices harm U.S. and Canadian industries and jobs, such as China, Egypt, India, Malaysia, Korea, Russia, Turkey, Vietnam,” said Marty Warren, USW Director for Ontario and Atlantic Canada.
“Canada is not one of these bad-actor countries. There was no justification to impose tariffs for Canadian steel and aluminum imports in the past, and there is no justification today,” Warren said.
“The U.S. administration’s own evidence shows that Canada is a reliable, fair-trading partner – not a threat to American national security,” said Stephen Hunt, USW Western Canada Director.
“Our economies are so closely intertwined that unjustified tariffs will cause unnecessary upheaval and will hurt workers and industries on both sides of the border,” Hunt said.
The USW is calling on the Canadian government to respond decisively to the U.S. tariffs and to defend the Canadian aluminum and steel industries.
“The government of Canada must pursue every means at its disposal to defend fair trade and the tens of thousands of Canadian families whose livelihoods depend on the aluminum and steel sectors,” Neumann said.
Source: United Steelworkers (USW)