A new surtax on foreign steel products is a welcome move to Regina steelworkers.
Ottawa is slapping a 25 per cent surtax on seven products in a bid to prevent dumping, which has led to excessive imports that harm the steel industry.
Mike Day, the president of Regina’s United Steelworkers Local 5890, called the move a positive step to protect Canadian jobs.
“These are measures that I wasn’t sure we’d see from the Liberal government, but I’m glad we have,” Day said.
He’s seen steel from countries like China getting dumped in Canada. The majority of it was energy tubular products, like the steel pipe produced at Evraz, which is one of the seven types of product on the surtax list.
“China has been doing this for 15 to 20 years and flooded the market for so long that it got to a boiling point,” Day said.
Evraz has lost orders and laid off staff in recent years due to dumping, according to Day.
“What’s the carbon footprint of them shipping that here when we could be making it from recycled steel here in Regina?” he said.
Starting Oct. 25, the surtax will be in place for 200 days while the Canadian International Trade Tribunal decides if it should be extended. Day hopes it does, adding he’ll accept whatever it takes to keep Canadians working.
Day added he’s still very concerned about the U.S. tariffs imposed on Canadian steel and aluminum. President Donald Trump announced the tariffs citing national security concerns and held them over NAFTA negotiations until a new deal was struck.
Those tariffs, along with Canada’s retaliatory tariffs, remain in place despite reaching a new deal known as United States-Mexico-Canada (USMCA) agreement.
“I’m not holding my breath with anything that comes out of the White House because they’ve said one thing and said another numerous times,” Day said.
With Canada’s recent lack of progress on pipeline projects, Day noted it’s most important to keep the U.S. market open if Evraz wants to continue to have success.
“We need to get our product down to the U.S. Nobody can produce what we produce here in Regina.”