Ontario Construction News staff writer
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and MP Terry Sheehan visited Algoma Steel in Sault Ste. Marie last Friday, and were welcomed with thanks and appreciation for their work on lifting US trade tariffs that impacted the company over the past year.
Trudeau recognized that the work of protecting and strengthening the Canadian steel industry isn’t done yet, but this was a big step and an important promise kept.
Since the spring of 2018, Canada has seen 25 percent tariffs imposed on steel products entering into the United States, and 10 per cent on aluminum products. The announcement that they were being lifted came May 17.
“Canada stood firm and did not back down until this outcome was achieved,” said a May 20 press release from the federal department of finance. Canada lifted its retaliatory fees on US imports the same day.
“The removal of tariffs and countermeasures is a true win-win for everyone involved,” the release quoted Finance Minister Bill Morneau as saying.
According to Algoma Steel Inc. Chief Executive Officer Mike McQuade, the company lost about $300 million while the tariffs were in place, as almost half its produce is sold to the US.
The Sault Ste. Marie stop was one of several visits by Trudeau and Christya Freeland celebrating the trade win with steel and aluminum producers across the country.
While tariffs are gone now, Canada might not be out of the woods yet, as the agreement penned between the two countries stipulates that tariffs could return, “in the event that imports of aluminum or steel products surge meaningfully beyond historic volumes of trade over a period of time.” A meaningful surge has yet to be defined.