Sault Ste. Marie, Windsor-Essex Regional, and Hamilton Chambers of Commerce Offer Recommendations to Prime Minister Trudeau to Help Save Steel Jobs
The Sault Ste. Marie, Windsor-Essex Regional and Hamilton Chambers of Commerce have provided a number of recommendations to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau intended to aid Canada’s steel industry and save jobs.
The recommendations are intended to confirm to the U.S. administration that Canada remains its most valued trading partner and head off a possible increase in foreign steel dumping into Canada as movement of this product into the U.S. becomes more difficult.
Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce Acting President, Don Mitchell points out, “while Canada has earned at least a temporary reprieve from U.S. tariffs on imported steel and aluminum, we are going to have to take immediate steps to demonstrate that Canada is willing, able and committed to doing its part to help stem the flow of foreign product that has been plaguing the North American steel industry. We also need to drive home that a tariff on Canadian steel is only going to hurt the American consumer and create havoc in U.S. / Canadian supply chains that are highly integrated.”
The letter, penned by the three Chambers, outlines how each of their communities maintain strong ties to Canada’s steel industry. The letter points out that the jobs resulting from the local steel industries clearly drive the economies of the three communities. In Sault Ste. Marie, the steel industry is anchored by Algoma and Tenaris Algoma Tubes, which account for over 41% of the city’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), and over a combined 62% of GDP when considering the economic value chain.
“We are looking forward to meeting with the Prime Minister when he is in Sault Ste. Marie this week,” states Rory Ring, Chief Executive Officer of the Sault Ste. Marie Chamber. “We want the Prime Minister to understand that our local steel industry remains intrinsically tied to the overall economic well-being of Sault Ste. Marie.”
He points out that unlike other steel-based economies, Saultites that depend on the steel industry for work don’t have the option of commuting thirty minutes or an hour to a major metropolitan centre for available work if their jobs disappear. He notes, “the bottom line is that job losses from our local steel industry equate to out-migration and a loss of not just the job, but also talent, skills, families and municipal tax revenues, which in-turn hurts everyone.”
In the letter, delivered to the Prime Minister today, ahead of his visit to Sault Ste. Marie on Wednesday, the Chambers of Commerce of Sault Ste. Marie, Windsor-Essex Regional and Hamilton recommend that the Government of Canada:
1) Maintains its demand for an unconditional permanent exemption for Canadian steel from any U.S. tariffs. It is important to make the case that Canadian steel is not the problem that the United States is looking to address and that a tariff on Canadian steel will only hurt the American consumer and disrupt highly efficient supply chains and steel-consuming businesses.
2) Immediately develop surge remedies to prevent Canada from becoming a dumping ground for foreign steel. It is important that we harmonize our regulations and enforcement strategies with our U.S. counterparts to ensure that shipments of steel from Canada do not incur costly, increased scrutiny at the U.S. border.
3) In recognition of the “critical circumstances” facing steel as a trade exposed industry and a foundational element of Canada’s national economy and security, explore in consultation with Canadian industry the utilization of existing tools under the Customs Tariff and Import and Export Permits Acts, as well as the development of new regulatory mechanisms to address the immediate threat of dumping diversion.
4) Immediately bring into law relevant sections of Bill C-44 addressing enhancements to the Special Import Measures Act.
5) Provide the CBSA with immediate enhancements to organizational resources to respond fairly, expeditiously, and transparently to unfair trading practices using both increased remedy and pricing investigations, timely and accurate tribunal processes and other tools available to it to meet our regulatory compliance obligations under NAFTA and the WTO.
6) Negotiate the inclusion of steel in the calculation of NAFTA automobile rules of origin quotas. The inclusion of a wider range of steel products within these quotas will create fairness for Canadian and American steel producers and prevent carbon leakage.
7) Develop a modernized government procurement policy that takes into account the carbon impact of steel inputs to reduce carbon leakage and improve fairness for Canadian workers and competitiveness of our steel industry.
8) Continue to enhance programs and ongoing education efforts for Canadian importers and exporters, manufacturers, producers and industry stakeholders to educate on trade regulation and remedy processes.
The three Chambers believe that the key to preventing tariffs on Canadian steel will be a clear and determined position that demonstrates that Canada will not become a dumping ground for diverted steel and steel products. Canada must be resolute in shoring up its trade enforcement to demonstrate that it is prepared to act in lockstep with the United States in building a strong North American steel market.
About the Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce
The Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce represents the interests of 700 plus business and agencies in Sault Ste. Marie and has been serving the needs of this community since 1889. The Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce will lead the way as the voice of business, advancing economic prosperity for its membership and the business community. Learn more about the SSMCOC at www.ssmcoc.com