Steel producers, Steelworkers union call for action from Prime Minister
OTTAWA, Sept. 1, 2016 /CNW/ - Canadian steel producers and the United Steelworkers (USW) are jointly urging Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, during his official visit to China, to strongly pursue a multinational solution to a steel crisis caused by global overcapacity and unfair trade.
In an open letter to the prime minister, the Canadian Steel Producers Association (CSPA) and the USW warn of "irreversible harm" to Canada's steel industry, which supports more than 120,000 jobs.
Meaningful solutions must be adopted internationally and on the domestic front, states the letter, signed by CSPA President Joseph Galimberti and USW National Director Ken Neumann.
"We, the undersigned, wish to encourage you on behalf of the Canadian steel industry and its employees to continue pressing China at the upcoming G20 meetings in Hangzhou, for multinational solutions to the problem of global overcapacity in the steel sector," the letter states.
"We equally urge you to quickly continue your government's work domestically to ensure Canada's trade remedy system is protecting Canada's steel producers, Steelworks and steel workers from the well documented and corrosive effects of global overcapacity we are feeling at home."
Trudeau, on an official visit to China this week, also will attend the G20 Summit on Sept. 4-5 in the Chinese city of Hangzhou.
Global overcapacity in steel production has risen to nearly 700 million tonnes, with China alone maintaining 425 million tonnes of surplus capacity – almost 30 times the size of the entire Canadian steel market, the CSPA and USW point out.
"Massive state ownership of and support for China's steel sector is the single largest force disrupting established trade patterns and degrading pricing of steel products globally today," the joint letter states.
"Despite recent efforts, the problems of overcapacity in steel and associated increases in the volume of damaging and unfairly traded goods entering the Canadian market persists. The location of the forthcoming G20 meetings in Hangzhou, China, represents a unique opportunity to address this issue directly with the nation most responsible for destabilizing the sector."
Canadian steel producers and workers continue to suffer from "a significant increase in market distorting dumping and circumvention practices, both from China directly and from a host of other global producers whose home markets have in many cases suffered as a result of Chinese competition," the letter states.
"Unfairly traded goods pose a clear and present threat to the livelihoods of the over 22,000 middle-class Canadians employed directly in steel production and the additional 100,000 Canadians whose employment is indirectly supported by our sector."
The CPSA and USW also are urging the federal government to immediately adopt new legislation to combat dumping and unfair trade and to encourage investment in the domestic steel sector.
"If the government fails in this regard, irreversible harm will occur," the joint letter states.
"Two of Canada's major primary steel producers – Essar Steel Algoma and U. S. Steel Canada – are currently operating under Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act (CCAA) protection, while other producers have cut jobs and production due to the ongoing crisis in the sector.
"The price deterioration and market instability associated with illegal trade have contributed significantly to our industry's challenges and are hurting middle class Canadian families."
SOURCE United Steelworkers (USW)
For further information: Joseph Galimberti, President, Canadian Steel Producers Association (CSPA), 613-238-6049, [email protected]; Ken Neumann, USW National Director for Canada, 416-544-5951; Bob Gallagher, USW Communications, 416-544-5966, 416-434 2221, [email protected]