Canada to impose steel tariffs on China, others

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The Canadian government is taking measures to thwart a potential flood of steel imports as a result of global exporters trying to avoid U.S. tariffs, according to a Bloomberg News story.

Citing “people familiar with the plan,” the story says that those proposed measures include quotas and tariffs aimed at certain countries including China. The potential move follows in the footsteps of the European Union’s decision to ward off dumping of steel that would have been sent to the U.S. Although not finalized, the announcement could come as early as next week, Bloomberg said.

This is just part of the fallout from U.S. President Donald Trump’s trade war; the U.S. has levied tariffs of 25 percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminum on Canada, the EU and other nations. As a result, some of the U.S.’s biggest trading partners have retaliated with counter tariffs.

Canadian counter-tariffs on U.S. steel, aluminum and other products will go into effect on July 1.

The U.S. accounted for 55 percent of Canada’s steel imports in 2017, with the remainder coming from China, South Korea, Brazil and Turkey.

U.S. tariffs could open the door to cheaper steel imports from abroad, said Sean Donnelly, chief executive officer of ArcelorMittal Dofasco, the Canadian unit of ArcelorMittal of Luxembourg. With steel being diverted to Canada, Canadian steel groups have been pressing for safeguard measures.

“We must be able to operate in an un-distorted, market-based competitive environment,” Donnelly said. “Canada’s response to past and future threats from unfairly traded and diverted offshore imports is critical.”

Additional tariffs could negatively affect the Canadian housing market. Only a handful of companies produce steel in the country, making construction companies and steel fabricators heavily reliant on imports.

Canada’s Office of the Minister of Finance had no comment.

The Canadian dollar weakened and shares in Stelco Holdings, a prominent steel company based in Ontario, rose on the news.

Read the full Bloomberg story here

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