TORONTO, Oct. 21, 2016 /CNW/ - United Steelworkers National Director Ken Neumann said today an announcement that the parliamentary committee on international trade will study steel dumping is welcome news for thousands of workers whose livelihoods have been severely threatened by an industry crisis that includes foreign steel being dumped into Canada at an alarming rate.
"This study would not be happening if it wasn't for the work of NDP MPs, notably Trade Critic Tracey Ramsey," said Neumann.
"One major reason for the crisis in the steel industry is the flooding of the Canadian market from imported steel. Global overcapacity in steel production has risen to 700 million tonnes, and China by itself maintains over 400 million tonnes of surplus capacity – over 30 times the Canadian steel market.
"We are concerned by any initiative toward liberalized trade with China," Neumann added. "China is not a market economy and freer trade with China poses a great risk to Canadian manufacturing."
The USW has long advocated for government to amend trade laws to make Canada's trade remedies more effective and to make the process more transparent by allowing unions to fully participate in trade complaints against countries dumping steel into Canada. Many other jurisdictions such as the U.S., EU, Australia and New Zealand afford workers such a right.
"It is fundamental in a globalized economy that workers are able to defend their jobs and communities from unfairly dumped goods. Industry can only benefit," Neumann said.
"We look forward to the study and hope for positive recommendations as soon as possible. This crisis has been ignored for too long. In fact, the 2015 federal budget, which called for billions of dollars for infrastructure spending, made no commitment to the purchase of Canadian-made steel."
There is no indication when the Standing Committee on International Trade will begin hearings.
SOURCE United Steelworkers (USW)
For further information: Ken Neumann, USW National Director, 416-544-5951; Bob Gallagher, USW Communications, 416-544-5966, 416-434 2221, [email protected]