Steel union united to protect Canada from the dangers of American protection trade

Washington — North America’s largest industrial union came to Canada’s defense on Thursday and vowed to protect businesses and workers north of the border from the growing dangers of protected trade in the United States.

Tom Conway, International Chairman of the United Steelworkers, has issued a joint statement with Canadian counterpart Ken Neumann with the aim of Canada claiming an exemption from Joe Biden’s “by America” ​​regulation.

“Canada is not a problem facing US manufacturing and workers,” Conway said, saying Canadian companies were exempted when similar restrictions were imposed in 2009.

“Cooperation between Canada and the United States builds on our long-standing productive trade relationship.”

Addressing persistent concerns in the United States regarding Canada’s steel imports, Neumann urged Ottawa to be more active in efforts to prevent illegal dumping of foreign goods and prevent them from finding a way to the south. ..

“With a clear sourcing strategy, Canada must prioritize the use of environmentally sustainable low-carbon materials to create and retain jobs,” he said.

“The Government of Canada must also adopt more powerful tools to deal with the transshipment of illegally dumped imports and take pride in the products that Canadians harvest, mine, manufacture and produce. “

A union statement representing more than 850,000 workers in both countries was issued the day after President Joe Biden submitted the long-awaited $ 2 trillion infrastructure plan.

The plan had the now familiar warning.

“We will definitely buy Americans,” Biden said. “That means investing in American-based companies and American workers.”

In the week following his inauguration, Biden signed an executive order imposing stricter Buy American Act on federally funded projects. This is a restriction that Canada has already been exempted from, thanks to the US commitment to the World Trade Organization.

However, “Buy America” ​​(another suite of US-made rules designed to apply to federally-sponsored state, regional, and local government projects) is expected to be more problematic for Canada.

International Trade Minister Mary Ng emphasized Thursday’s distinction, testifying in front of a special House of Commons Commission investigating economic relations between Canada and the United States.

“If there is a (US) effort to expand or implement new domestic content requirements, we will make an absolute effort not to apply it to Canada or impact the Canadian supply chain,” Ng said. I am.

Leona Areslev, a member of the Conservative Committee, pointed out that the governing Liberal Party had already failed to prevent Biden from canceling the Keystone XL pipeline project, and expressed little confidence in N.

Ng has promised the efforts of the “Team Canada” group. This is the same bipartisan strategy that has finally proved fruitful in federal marathon negotiations with the Trump administration to renew NAFTA.

“What I’m trying to do is work with the Team Canada approach, as I’ve done over the last five years, to stand up for the benefit of Canada.”

Buy America is currently written to ensure that manufactured final products, mainly used in eligible projects, and steel are manufactured entirely in the United States. Experts say it can be difficult to navigate given multiple levels of government and bureaucracy. Bureaucratic formalism is involved.

Many things are likely and likely to change before Biden’s infrastructure plan is passed, Steve Burhall, Deputy Minister of Global Affairs Canada, told the Commission. ..

Verheul, chief negotiator in the NAFTA negotiations, acknowledged that Buy America’s warnings could become even more stringent as the package passes Capitol Hill.

“I’ve heard some suggestions that this can be extended to cover construction materials such as cement, aggregates, asphalt and, in some cases, other products,” he told the commission.

“The package announced (Wednesday) does not contain these details, so how this is when we start going through Congress to determine what coverage the United States is considering. We need to see if it evolves. “

James McCurtain

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