New surtaxes should stem flow of steel imports to Canada

Ottawa says it is imposing new surtaxes on some foreign steel to head off the threat of dumping.

Beginning Oct. 25, the Department of Finance says, imports of seven steel products will be subject to a 25% surtax when the level of those imports exceeds historical norms.

The seven products are:

Heavy plate
Concrete reinforcing bar (rebar)
Energy tubular products
Hot-rolled sheet
Pre-painted steel
Stainless steel wire
wire rod

Those products help build condominiums, dams and bridges, "which encompasses a heck of a lot of steel," Jesse Goldman, a lawyer representing the Canadian Coalition for Construction Steel, told The Canadian Press.

He said the new surtax puts the construction industry in "a very dire position" because of Canada's limited domestic steel supply.

Meanwhile, media reports are surfacing that Mexico isn't happy about Canada's steel measures and "will take action to protect its own exporters in the short term, according to a statement from Mexico's economy ministry on Thursday."

In August, Finance Minister Bill Morneau launched a 15-day public consultation process on products the minister said had seen recent increases in imports.

Canada has taken in almost $300 million from retaliatory tariffs on U.S. imports

The government is also requesting that the Canadian International Trade Tribunal conduct an inquiry to determine whether long-term measures are warranted. The provisional surtaxes will be in place for 200 days while the tribunal comes to a decision.

U.S. President Donald Trump's protectionist measures continue to reverberate across the global steel industry.

Trump levied a 25% tariff on Canadian steel shipments, along with those from Mexico and the European Union, in late May.

Canada retaliated with a 25% duty on imports of steel products from the U.S., but that didn't apply to steel coming in from other places.

On Thursday, the Finance Department announced new protective measures for Canadian producers and manufacturers hit by U.S. steel and aluminum tariffs.