Orazietti Urges Adoption of Trade Remedy Modernization by Federal Government
A recent news release by an unnamed source makes misleading and false claims about the previous federal Conservative government’s role in protecting Canada’s steel industry from foreign dumping.
The former federal Conservative government held office from 2006 to 2015 and was well aware that steel dumping was a major problem. They also knew that the Special Import Measures Act (SIMA), at over thirty years old, no longer protected the Canadian steel sector from unfair trade practices by foreign producers.
While issues have been evident for some time with SIMA, two years ago, in response to the growing problems the Canadian Steel Producers Association (CSPA) asked the federal government to adopt recommendations in the Trade Remedy Modernization Plan. Despite these warnings and suggested solutions the Conservatives failed to act. Moreover, members of the Canadian International Trade Tribunal (CITT), politically appointed by the federal Conservatives, recently decided that steel dumping was not hurting Canada’s steel sector. The news came as a shock to the local steel industry, presently in bankruptcy protection and Essar Steel Algoma has launched an appeal.
The news release by “local Conservatives” also misleads readers on the implementation of recommendations in the Trade Remedy Modernization Plan. They incorrectly claim Canada is required to sign and ratify the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) before improvements could be made to prevent further steel dumping. This understanding is incorrect. For example, both Australia and the United States implemented trade remedy modernization measures prior to signing the TPP.
“What is clear is that when the former federal Conservatives had the opportunity to act to help protect steel jobs they sat on their hands for years and made matters worse with political appointments to the Canadian International Trade Tribunal (CITT), who are unable to recognize when harm is done to Canadian Steel workers and their families,” said David Orazietti, MPP. “Last week we launched a public petition urging the new federal government to act quickly to ensure a fair trade environment and to help protect jobs being lost as a result of steel dumping.”
In contrast to the federal Conservatives, the provincial government has taken substantive steps to support Ontario’s steel sector. Investments by the province include:
- Created an energy purchase program that facilitated a $135 million investment by Essar Steel Algoma in a co-generation facility reducing energy consumption by nearly half;
- Invested $16.5 million for the first time as a province in short-line rail to support Essar Steel’s need for important transportation infrastructure;
- Created the Northern Industrial Energy Rate (NIER) Program saving Essar Steel Algoma approximately $10 million per year in energy costs
Additionally, this past summer, the province made a $30 million grant commitment to strengthen Essar Steel Algoma by supporting their $240 million capital modernization plan. In contrast, the federal Conservatives refused to provide Essar with a grant insisting on a loan and effectively adding $30 million of debt to the company.
The petition in support of fair trade for steel in Canada can be found at www.FairTradeForSteel.ca.