Galvanized coiled steel sit in a storage area following manufacture at the Tata Steel Ijmuiden BV plant, a unit of Tata Steel Ltd., in Ijmuiden, Netherlands.(Photographer: Jasper Juinen/Bloomberg)

Canada Is Moving Forward With Steel Safeguard Talks

(Bloomberg) -- Justin Trudeau’s government is expected to start consultations on possible measures to prevent a potential flood of imports from global steelmakers seeking to avoid U.S. tariffs, according to two industry sources familiar with the plans.

Finance Minister Bill Morneau has scheduled an announcement Tuesday during a visit to Hamilton-based ArcelorMittal Dofasco’s headquarters, though no further details were provided in the media advisory. If consultations are announced, the expectation is they will be held over a 15-day period, after which a decision will be made, the people said, asking not to be identified because the matter isn’t public.

“We are looking carefully at any issues that have been generated as a result of the tariffs, changes in trading patterns, and that’s work that is ongoing -- that consultation process,” Morneau told reporters Monday in Windsor, Ontario. “We will certainly have more to say about that in the not too distant future.”

A spokesman for Morneau didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on the possible measures.

The moves would be part of the widening impact from U.S. President Donald Trump’s ongoing trade battles, which had resulted in U.S. tariffs of 25 percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminum that were imposed on Canada, the EU and other nations in June. Bloomberg first reported in June the Canadian government was preparing new measures including a combination of quotas and tariffs targeting certain countries including China to prevent them from diverting steel shipments into Canada.

Global Production of Steel (2017) -- Million tonnes
China831.7
Japan104.7
India101.4
United States81.6
South Korea71.1
Russia71.3
Canada13.7
Rest of World415.7
Source: Statistics Canada

That followed similar “safeguard” measures that were being considered by the European Union to ward off steel that might otherwise have been sent to the U.S. Canada produced 13.7 million tonnes of iron and steel products last year, less than one percent of total global production.

The negotiations could look at safeguards for various types of steel including pre-painted steel, wire rod, stainless steel wire, concrete reinforcing bar, plate, energy tubular goods and hot rolled steel sheet and coil, the people said.

Some steel importers and fabricators have been pushing back on any potential safeguards, arguing they will negatively impact the Canadian economy and raise costs in sectors including housing or infrastructure.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.