The House

Canada must be proactive to curb fallout from U.S. steel tariffs, stakeholders say

The Canadian government needs to decide on a proactive response to U.S. President Donald Trump's new tariffs on steel and aluminum, according to Conservative leader Andrew Scheer and industry experts.
Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer said the Conservatives were disappointed in the lack of U.S.-based policy in this year's budget. (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)
Listen11:46

The Canadian government needs to decide on a proactive response to U.S. President Donald Trump's new tariffs on steel and aluminum, according to politicians and industry experts.

"This can cause significant economic damage which will make [economic] deficits even bigger," Andrew Scheer, the Conservative party leader, told The House.  

On Thursday, Donald Trump announced new trade restrictions, including a 25 per cent tariff on steel imports and 10 per cent duty on aluminum, but didn't add whether Canada would be exempt.

With so much cooperation between the two countries, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said it was "absolutely unacceptable" to highlight Canadian steel or aluminum as a security threat.

The United States imported 26.9 million tonnes of steel in 2017, and more than four million, or 16 per cent of it, came from Canada.

Canada buys more American steel than any other country, accounting for 50 per cent of U.S. exports, according to the Canadian Steel Producers Association.

Conservative leader Andrew Scheer shares his thoughts on the Liberals' fiscal blueprint and the ongoing controversy over the Prime Minister's trip to India. 11:46

It's not just politicians beginning to worry about what these tariffs could mean for Canada's economy.

"This is going to be a scenario that turns quickly, and the harm that can be done to the domestic industry is significant in a very short period of time," Joseph Galimberti, president of the Canadian Steel Producers Association, said.

Beyond costing jobs, it threatens Canadian business investments, he explained.

The tariffs could force other countries to divert their steel away from the U.S. to other markets, threatening Canada's ability to remain competitive.

The president of the Canadian Steel Producers Association talks about the potential impact of new U.S. trade restrictions on aluminum and steel. 7:07