A finding by the Canadian International Trade Tribunal (CITT) that concrete reinforcing bar was dumped into Canada from seven other countries, causing injury to its steel industry, sends a clear signal to those trying to undermine the regulations, states the Canadian Steel Producers Association (CSPA).
“Indeed, we’re very pleased with the ruling,” says CSPA president and CEO Catherine Cobden. “The ruling does a few things for us. One is that it does establish there was dumping and injury from seven countries and when that happens duties are placed and that prevents further dumping. That’s very important.
“But there’s another aspect to it, too. When these rulings take place it sends a message, I believe, and that message is that Canada does stand up for fair trade practices and will penalize countries that do not participate in fair trade.”
The CITT investigated allegations the countries were illegally dumping concrete reinforcing bar into the Canadian market, in contravention of section 42 of the Special Import Measures Act (SIMA). The countries named in the investigation included Algeria, Egypt, Indonesia, Italy, Malaysia, Singapore, and Vietnam.
The CITT specifically looked at whether hot-rolled deformed steel concrete reinforcing bar in straight lengths or coils, commonly referred to as rebar, was being dumped by the countries. The rebar investigated was in various diameters up to and including 56.4 millimetres, in various finishes, excluding plain round bar and fabricated rebar products.
The CITT also probed “whether the rebar dumping caused injury or retardation or is threatening to cause injury” to the Canadian market.
The CITT said in its ruling that it took into account that the president of the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) previously issued a determination in May that the reinforcing bar had been dumped, and therefore pursuant to subsection 43(1) of SIMA, the dumping caused injury to the domestic industry.
The CBSA began its probe in September 2020 after complaints were filed by AltaSteel Inc. of Edmonton, Alta., ArcelorMittal Long Products Canada of Quebec, and Gerdau Ameristeel Corporation of Whitby, Ont.
As a result of the decision, duties will now be imposed on imports of reinforcing bar from the seven countries.
Cobden says the ruling shows other countries around the world that Canada will not stand for rebar dumping.
“You need the countries that were dumping to face the duties,” she says.
Another aspect to the ruling, though, is the message it conveys to other countries that are still trying to dump concrete reinforcing bar into Canada, as well as those that are trying to find creative ways around the ban.
Codben says there is a glut of steel around the world and many other countries are trying to find workarounds.
“What I mean by that is there is simply too much steel being produced in the world that’s trying to get into our borders.”
The global over-capacity of steel is driving countries to find innovative ways to dump product, says Cobden.
The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development indicates there is presently 648 million tonnes of excess steel being produced around the world, or 42 times the entire Canadian production, and countries with an oversupply are still trying to find places to sell their product.
“In this particular case, there were seven countries but there’s many others,” says Cobden. “I could give you many other country examples like China, Taipei, Turkey, Spain, Portugal, Russia, I mean the list goes on and on.”
The problem with dumping is that it erodes the domestic market and hurts the industry, as it creates an uneven playing field, she says.
“You’re dumping, you’re selling below cost, you’re taking market share away from the domestic industry because you’re undermining the pricing environment.
“We have a very good track record in the domestic steel industry on wages, on environmental aspects and human rights, in addition to the actual job creation we do and not so for some of the countries that are doing this. So, there’s a whole number of levels in which this impacts the industry and causes problems not just for the industry but for the country.”
The CSPA believes the investigation by the CITT was very thorough and, while it took about 10 months for the ruling to come down, Cobden is still glad it’s on the books as it will ensure duties are imposed on imports from the offending countries.
“Some rulings take six months, some take longer. Under COVID there’s been a lot of extensions so that’s been problematic. But in general, I think you can appreciate from the domestic producers industry, every month that goes by causes more pain so we want these procedures to be as time-efficient as possible.”
While there is a ruling on the books, the war against illegal dumping is not yet over.
“Unfair traders are very creative and we must remain ever-vigilant,” says Cobden. “So, yes this is great, it puts duties in place, it sends market signals that we stand up for fair trade, but I also want to emphasize that we must continue to evolve our trade-remedy practices in Canada to keep pace with what those unfair traders do.”