Tariffs eroding profits and driving up costs, metal manufacturers tell lawmakers – by Eric Atkins (Globe and Mail – October 23, 2018)


Metal manufacturers and fabricators aired their complaints about trade barriers in Ottawa on Tuesday, telling members of Parliament that U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminum coupled with Canada’s countermeasures are eroding profits and driving up costs. This is giving foreign rivals an edge, the business people said, appearing before the standing committee on international trade.

Chris Wharin of Bohne Spring Industries Ltd., a Toronto-based maker of springs, wire and metal work for automotive and other uses, said that to keep its customers, the company cannot pass on some of the higher import and manufacturing costs incurred since Canada placed retaliatory tariffs of 10 per cent and 25 per cent on metal products from the United States.

“This is having a crippling effect on our cash flow and profits,” he said, adding the company relies on U.S. suppliers for much its steel and is unable to find domestic replacements.

Mr. Wharin said tariffs and shortages have driven up material costs by 50 per cent to 60 per cent in some cases and the company has paid $50,000 in duties since July 1.

That’s the date Canada imposed tariffs on $16.6-billion worth of U.S. metal products and consumer goods. The move was in retaliation to U.S. President Donald Trump’s import tariffs on global steel and aluminum.

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