Soo Chamber Calls on Prime Minister to Directly Address Steel and Aluminum Tariffs
Sault Ste. Marie, ONTARIO – March 1, 2018 (LSN) The Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce (SSMCOC) is calling on the Prime Minister to get directly involved in the crisis brewing as a result of today’s announcement by U.S. President Donald Trump to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum imports to the United States.
The Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce has been closely monitoring the on-going discussion between the U.S. Commerce Department and the White House centering on the implementation of significant tariffs against foreign steel and aluminum, possibly including Canadian-produced product. The local Chamber is working with the Canadian and Ontario Chambers of Commerce as well as Chambers with a vested interest, including those in Hamilton and Windsor-Essex, to develop a strong, coordinated advocacy effort to push for a Canadian exemption and to ensure that Canada’s steel industry is not hurt further by redirected foreign dumping activities.
Rory Ring, Chief Executive Officer of the Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce states that “the Chamber has been in dialogue with M.P. Terry Sheehan (Co-Chair of the Federal government’s Steel Caucus) about steps to be taken on the U.S. position. Today’s news out of Washington obviously denotes a milestone in these discussions, but we intend to continue to be proactive and constructive in our dialogue. We have assurances from M.P. Sheehan that he is fully committed to working with us to advance our position for mutually beneficial trade discussions that would not result in escalating a trade dispute.”
Earlier today, U.S. President Donald Trump announced that he intends to impose a 25% tariff on steel imports and a 10% tariff on aluminum effective next week. The announcement is a stronger-than-expected move on what was considered by many to be the worst-case scenario for Canada among a choice of recommended actions by the U.S. Commerce Department.
Last month, the Commerce Department recommended three options to the U.S. President to deal with what it called the "national security threat" that imported steel and aluminum represents. Those options included:
Tariffs of 24% on all steel and 7.7% on aluminum imports from all countries.
Tariffs of 53% on steel imports from 12 specific countries (not including Canada) that it perceived as the source of most cheap imported steel and aluminum, but also imposing a quota on all countries limiting the aluminum and steel they export to the U.S. to last year’s levels.
A quota on steel and aluminum imports from everywhere, limiting each country to 63% of the steel and 86% of the aluminum they shipped to the U.S. last year.
SSMCOC Acting President, Don Mitchell notes that the local Chamber along with its counterparts from Hamilton and Windsor-Essex, “are fully engaged with both the Ontario and Canadian Chambers of Commerce. These organizations are working with us to formulate a response that will channel a united voice from the provincial and national Chamber networks.”
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At this time, it still remains unclear as to whether there may, in fact, be some exemptions to the hastilyannounced call for tariffs made today. The Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce however is calling upon Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to directly engage President Trump and initiate discussions that would lead to Canada being exempted from all tariffs, trade barriers and penalties being proposed on both steel and aluminum.
Concurrently, the Chamber is also calling on the Prime Minister and the federal government to take immediate steps to develop a plan that ensures that Canada does not become the dumping ground for nonmarket economy steel and aluminum once foreign producers begin to look for new opportunities for their product as the door to the U.S. closes on them.
The Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce was in Ottawa twice last year, along with the Chambers from Hamilton and Windsor-Essex and several of Canada’s largest steel producers, appearing before the Standing Committee on International Trade and before the All-Party Parliamentary Steel Caucus. Ring notes, “Together, we made a strong argument of exactly how important the steel industry is to both our community and to the national economy.”
In 2017, the three Chambers authored a Canadian Chamber of Commerce resolution requiring the Government of Canada to act on behalf of steel and trade-exposed industries in light of the United States review of Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act. It is that review that is currently playing out with today’s announcement by the U.S. President.
About the Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce The Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce represents the interests of 700 plus business and agencies in Sault Ste. Marie and has been serving the needs of this community since 1889. The Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce will lead the way as the voice of business, advancing economic prosperity for its membership and the business community. Learn more about the SSMCOC at www.ssmcoc.com