March 13th, 2018

NDP to Morneau: Canadians, industry, need to see plan on potential tariffs

OTTAWA – While Prime Minister Trudeau keeps insisting his Liberal government “has the back of thousands of steel and aluminum workers”, New Democrats are calling on the government to actually get down to the business of shoring up our trade remedy system and putting in place real solutions. NDP International Trade Critic, Tracey Ramsey (Essex) and NDP Finance Critic, Peter Julian (New Westminster-Burnaby) have sent a letter to the Minister of Finance regarding the potential tariffs on imports of Canadian steel and aluminum to the United States. While these tariffs are now delayed, it is clear they will be used as a bargaining chip in NAFTA and that they could still be applied in the future. It is critically important for the Government of Canada to prepare for this action without delay.

“Canada must strengthen our trade remedy system and have the courage to change our policies so they can effectively defend against steel dumping from other countries,” said Ramsey. “I am particularly concerned with the impact of Trump’s continued threats of expensive and destructive tariffs to manipulate the ongoing NAFTA renegotiations. Canada cannot waste time – we must act now to strengthen our Steel and Aluminum sector. We also cannot take for granted that our traditionally positive relationship will hold off future attacks.”

Last week, New Democrats made it clear that they stood with the Government of Canada in order to demonstrate unity against the 232 Decision that attacked two vital domestic industries. The steel industry employs 22,000 people directly and an additional 100,000 people indirectly, while Aluminum employs 8,300 directly and 20,000 people indirectly. These important industries create stability in communities across Canada. Now is the time to better plan for a potentially volatile future.

“Ahead of actually applying border measures on offshore steel, the Trudeau government needs to be clear and definitive about their policy for dealing with steel diversion,” stated Julian. “That policy must inform Canadians on how the Liberals will be taking responsive measures to protect jobs.”

For well over a year, and again in the letter to Morneau, New Democrats have called on the government to have the courage to address steel dumping actions that harm Canadian industries and workers. The NDP has also called for the government to act on behalf of workers by increasing funding to defend against dumping, ensuring programs are available to workers impacted by this protectionist measure, creating space for unions to fully participate in the trade remedy system and initiating discussions to use targeted safeguards under the Customs Tariff Act.