Ottawa bolsters rules to prevent dumping of cheap metals in U.S. – by Greg Keenan (Globe and Mail – March 28, 2018)

The federal government is moving to block cheap offshore steel and aluminum that could be funnelled to the United States through Canada to avoid tariffs Washington has placed on several countries.

The actions announced on Tuesday will be taken after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau assured U.S. President Donald Trump that Canada will not become a back door for countries seeking to avoid the 25-per-cent tariff on steel and 10-per-cent levy on aluminum announced by the U.S. government earlier this month.

Canada was granted an exemption after intense lobbying, but the exemption is temporary until May 1. Whether it is extended or made permanent depends partly on Canada blocking its own borders to cheap offshore steel and aluminum and on progress in the negotiations to revamp the North American free-trade agreement.

The actions include giving the Canada Border Services Agency the authority to identify and stop shipments that are designed to dodge the duties; granting unions standing to participate in hearings and other proceedings that will examine whether foreign exports are hurting producers in Canada; and giving the CBSA more flexibility to determine whether prices in an exporter’s home market are reliable or distorted.

“The measures are intended to make sure that there is no trans-shipment or redirection of low-priced steel that might come in from other places around the world into the Canadian market,” Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, said on Tuesday.

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