TORONTO, Oct. 19, 2018 – The United Steelworkers is calling on the federal government to take a decisive stand against U.S. quotas on Canadian steel and aluminum products.
“Canada’s government must emphatically stand up for the Canadian steel and aluminum industries and thousands of families whose livelihoods are at stake,” said USW National Director Ken Neumann.
News reports indicate U.S. quotas on Canadian steel and aluminum exports are on the table in current negotiations between the Liberal government and the Trump administration over U.S. ‘national security’ tariffs.
“There is no justification for Canada to accept U.S. quotas on Canadian steel and aluminum, just as there is no justification for the spurious national security tariffs the U.S. imposed on our steel and aluminum. Both quotas and tariffs must be rejected outright by the Canadian government,” Neumann said.
“Like tariffs, quotas on Canadian steel or aluminum will unfairly punish Canadian industry and workers. We have significant unused capacity in Canada and it’s not possible to implement a quota that will fairly take into account individual situations in Canadian steel and aluminum communities,” he said.
“The Canadian and American steel and aluminum industries are highly integrated and a quota on Canadian exports makes no more sense than the current tariffs and is just as unfair. The only way to protect and create Canadian jobs in these industries is to remove tariffs and quotas on steel and aluminum,” he added.
“The Liberal government must show that it is truly defending Canadian workers and communities. It should not ratify the renegotiated North American trade deal until U.S. tariffs and quotas are off the table,” Neumann said.
“This government has already betrayed Canadians by conceding to Donald Trump’s numerous demands for concessions in the new USMCA,” he said.
“Trump acknowledged he was using the baseless national security tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum as leverage to extract such concessions from Canada in the trade negotiations,” he noted.
“Canada’s government submitted to these concessions but did not demand that the U.S. reciprocate by lifting the unjustified tariffs. As a result, two of Canada’s key industrial sectors are hurting and thousands of jobs are at risk,” he said.
“The Liberal government has attempted to argue that the steel and aluminum tariffs were a separate issue from the USMCA negotiations,” Neumann said.
“However, the United Steelworkers and the news media have exposed this argument as patently false. The Liberals agreed to a trade deal that actually legitimizes the continued use of baseless U.S. national-security tariffs to punish key Canadian industries – now and into the future.
“The Canadian government must stop making concessions that harm Canadian workers and communities. It must oppose tariffs and quotas on Canadian steel and aluminum as a precondition of ratifying any trade deal.”