In a release sent out Friday morning, local MPP Ross Romano said he is “extremely disappointed” in the Federal Liberal government for negotiating a new tentative trade deal with the United States that he says “completely ignores the steel industry; the most important industry in Sault Ste. Marie.”
The U.S., Mexico, Canada (USMCA) trade deal that is slated to replace NAFTA was announced earlier this week, and made no changes to the tariffs brought in earlier this year by President Donald Trump. “These tariffs have created a real and serious threat to our jobs in Sault Ste. Marie and have already caused an estimated $55-million loss to Algoma Inc. in just the first three months under the new tariffs” said Romano.
“They are devastating for our community and completely unnecessary. They are being used as a bargaining chip in a bigger strategy,” said Romano from his constituency office in the Sault. “The Trudeau government repeatedly has said it would defend the steel industry in this negotiation but it continues to fail to do so. Right now, with the recent announcement of the USMCA trade deal, it appears that communities like ours have been thrown under the bus so the Liberals can claim they saved the day for Canada.”
SaultOnline reached out to local Liberal MP Terry Sheehan, who said that Trump’s Executive Order 232 is a completely separate entity from NAFTA and posses tariffs on steel and aluminum all over the world, not just on Canada and Mexico.
In a press release also posted on SaultOnline, Sheehan said he’s concerned about the misconceptions regarding this, saying:
“Unfortunately there is some misinformation out there regarding the USMCA and the steel and aluminum tariffs being linked in negotiations. This is untrue. NAFTA negotiations could not include the steel and aluminum tariffs because the tariffs were applied by President Trump as an Executive Order, creating an entirely separate dispute mechanism requirement. The tariffs were no longer a part of NAFTA and could not be negotiated for this agreement.”
In his release, Romano says the only path forward is to stand up and fight. He said that this is a tentative deal that was intended to meet a false deadline and that there could be more negotiating and bargaining when it comes to tariffs on items like steel and aluminum. Romano says that he will continue to fight for local Steelworkers and the city in every way he can to try to help keep Algoma Inc. competitive and ensure the safety of jobs.
“We can’t accept this and we won’t accept this. I know the Premier believes this as well. And, we’re going to fight for the workers and families in our city,” said Romano. “I have been fighting for our steel plant and our steel workers and will continue to do so. The people of our community are hurting, it’s unjustified; we deserve better.”
Sheehan said he thinks these tariffs are unacceptable and both he and the Federal government are committed to continue to put the pressure on Trump to lift these tariffs. He encourages everyone to stay united in this fight and not to buckle under Trump’s demands and the misconceptions around USMCA and the steel tariffs.
As recent as the International Trade Committee meeting in Ottawa which Algoma Steel’s President and CEO , Kalyan Ghosh attended, Sheehan has stated the Federal Government will continue efforts fighting against the unfair tariffs, and provide ongoing support for the steel industry and workers.
Sheehan told SaultOnline that he’s reached out to Romano and, as of publication time of this article, is awaiting a response.