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Canada intends to use "emergency measures" to protect its steel industry for the first time

Aug. 16, 2018

The Canadian federal government said on the 14th that it is preparing to adopt so-called "emergency protection measures" to restrict the import of foreign steel products to protect its domestic steel industry.

Canadian Finance Minister Bill Morneau made a related announcement to the media at a steel mill near Toronto that day. According to the Canadian Tariff Law, while complying with international trade rules, the authorities have the right to use “emergency protection measures” under “special circumstances”, that is, to levy additional tariffs or set import quotas before conducting relevant investigations.

The Canadian government's goal is to import seven types of steel products, including steel plates, concrete reinforcement, energy pipes, hot-rolled sheets, pre-coated steel sheets, stainless steel wires and wire rods.

The Canadian government has never used the terms of “emergency protection measures” in the past. Once "activated", this will be the first time the country has adopted this trade protection. The federal government announced that it will start a 15-day public consultation on the 14th local time.

At the end of May this year, Canada has announced the implementation of the system of marking of origin for imported steel and aluminum products in order to be consistent with the US labeling system. However, this did not allow Canada to obtain a continuous exemption from the US steel and aluminum tariff barriers. After the official levy of steel and aluminum tariffs in the United States, the Canadian government also imposed retaliatory tariffs on US$16.6 billion worth of US products, including steel and aluminum, from July 1 this year.

Mono said that the US approach has caused "special circumstances" and made Canada face a "threat" of the influx of cheap foreign steel. He added that the protection measures to be taken by Canada are not specific to specific countries but to specific product categories to ensure market stability.

“International trade has undoubtedly improved the Canadian economy,” Mono said. “But it must be fair and open and must benefit everyone.”

According to official Canadian data, in 2017, the Canadian steel industry provided about 23,000 jobs for Canadians and contributed $4.2 billion to Canada's GDP.

On the same day, Canada's Diversified International Trade Minister Jim Carr also announced a public consultation to promote foreign investment and protection agreements for two and a half months.

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