Trade and International Affairs

Ending tariffs means Canadians can get back to work

May 17, 2019

Canada’s unions welcome today’s announcement lifting U.S. tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum.

“The cancellation of steel and aluminum tariffs is good news for workers,” said CLC President Hassan Yussuff. “Canada’s unions welcome this decision to restore stability and predictability to our economy and to workers’ lives. For almost a year, these tariffs have had a damaging impact on an industry and the people who work hard to make it thrive.”

Last year, Canadians were shocked to learn that their most significant trading partner was imposing tariffs on steel and aluminum that would have a damaging effect on an industry, and indeed the entire Canadian economy. Canada’s unions have consistently called the American tariffs, imposed under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act, unjust and illegal because they cited an imaginary threat to U.S. national security.

“In reality, the tight integration of Canadian and U.S. steel industries has underpinned the economic security and prosperity for both countries for over half a century. Arguing the opposite during a trade negotiation was always more about politics than economics,” said Yussuff.

Since their imposition on June 1, 2018, these tariffs have hit the workers in one of Canada’s key industries hard. The steel sector supports 22,000 direct jobs across Canada and the aluminum sector supports nearly 10,000 direct jobs mostly in BC and Quebec, with supply chains and related industries affecting more than 100,000 additional workers.

Today’s announcement also provides for continued monitoring of steel flows, to ensure that Canada doesn’t become a dumping ground for other countries. Yussuff expressed his continued support of careful monitoring and robust anti-dumping measures to counter trade diversion.

“In the resolution of this dispute is a reminder of the importance of Canada maintaining a strong trade remedy system and vigilance against unfair competition so that dumped and subsidized steel from China and elsewhere are not redirected through the Canadian economy,” said Yussuff.

Canada’s unions commend the Prime Minister and Minister Freeland for their determination and diligence in working to reverse these tariffs, without condition.

Workers are hopeful that today’s agreement puts an end to threats of politically-motivated tariffs that harm workers in both countries and fuel economic uncertainty.

“Canadian workers and their families are breathing a big sigh of relief today, and we hope that affected companies will be able to reverse any layoffs. Ending tariffs means Canadians can get back to work,” said Yussuff.

 

 

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