Ontario Ministry of Economic Development and Trade - News Release

Archived Release

Ontario Ministry of Economic Development and Trade - News Release

TORONTO, March 5 /CNW/ - The attached letter was sent today from the Honourable Robert Runciman, Minister of Economic Development and Trade, to the Honourable Pierre Pettigrew, Minister of International Trade, regarding President Bush's decision on the U.S. Internal Trade Commission's recommendation to impose tariffs on imported steel into the United States.

Minister of
Economic Development
and Trade

Hearst Block, 8th Floor
900 Bay St.
Toronto, Ontario
M7A 2E1
(416) 325-6900
Fax (416) 325-6918
www.ontario-canada.com

March 5, 2002

The Honourable Pierre Pettigrew
Minister for International Trade
Ottawa ON K1A 0G2

Dear Minister:

As you know, President Bush is expected to make an imminent decision on the recommendation of the U.S. Internal Trade Commission (ITC) to impose tariffs on imported steel into the United States. This action may affect Canadian steel products entering the U.S. market. I wish to make the Ontario government's views on this important issue very clear.
The Ontario government expects the federal government to do everything it can to promote and defend the interests of the steel industry in this country. As we discussed in the spring when we met, and as I indicated in my meeting with former Minister Brian Tobin this fall, we are ready and willing to work with you and your federal colleagues to ensure that steel industry jobs in this province are protected.
While the ITC has exempted a significant portion of Canadian steel imports entering into the U.S. market from tariffs or quotas, this can only be viewed as a partial success.
It is clear that Canadian steel is not the cause of current difficulties in the U.S. steel market. The U.S. and Canada represent a fully integrated market for steel products, and trade between the two countries is roughly balanced. More recently, the growth of U.S. imports into Canada has outpaced Canadian exports to the U.S. Both countries are reliant on imports of steel products from outside North America to satisfy domestic demand.
I have met with Barry Lacombe of the Canadian Steel producers Association along with representatives from Stelco Inc., Dofasco Inc., Algoma Steel Inc., Slater Steel Inc. and Co-Steel Inc. and support the three-point action plan previously announced by the industry and the federal government. This plan involves expedited responses to unfair trade cases, engagement in discussions with countries involved in unfair trade practises, and facilitated multilateral discussions to address global overcapacity and trade issues. The government of Ontario strongly supports the industry position to send a clear message to the global steel industry that Canada is not to be considered a dumping ground for excess foreign steel production.
As you are well aware, the steel industry in Ontario, and throughout North America, is under a serious competitive threat from low-priced imports. Ontario's steel industry provides some 23,000 jobs directly, and tens of thousands more in related manufacturing industries such as the automotive sector. We cannot afford to put these jobs in jeopardy.
Thank you for your co-operation and attention to this matter, in the interests of fair trade for our steel industry and its employees.

Sincerely,

(signed)
---------------------------
Robert W. Runciman, MPP
Leeds-Grenville
Minister

c: The Honourable Michael D. Harris
The Honourable Allan Rock
Barry Lacombe
For further information: Media contact: James Wallace, Minister's Office, (416) 325-8779