Western Canadian suppliers of reinforcing bar are bracing for an expected announcement that the federal government will launch an anti-dumping investigation into rebar imports from seven countries, four affecting the Western seaboard and three Eastern ports.
“It will definitely increase the cost of construction,” said manager Anoop Khosla of Mid-Valley Rebar as the impact will affect all aspects of construction from roads to buildings.
The industry was already dealing with workplace challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic and earlier this year the federal government continued anti-dumping restrictions on rebar from China and several other Asian countries.
Khosla and another major buyer in the industry have both heard an announcement is coming but press inquiries to steel associations yielded no confirmation.
Khosla said the countries expected to be looked at are Vietnam, Indonesia, Singapore, and Malaysia, landing rebar mainly on the West Coast, and Egypt, Turkey and Italy, shipping to East Coast ports.
The Canadian Border Service Agency (CBSA) would begin the investigation and if findings indicate dumping or a subsidy they are turned over to the Canadian International Trade Tribunal to determine if they are injurious to the domestic industry and duties can be imposed on imports for a five year period unless rescinded.
The CBSA declined comment on a pending investigation. “As a general rule, the CBSA does not comment on upcoming investigations. Until/unless an investigation is initiated, the CBSA neither confirms nor denies the existence of complaints of dumped or subsidized goods,” an email from the CBSA said.
Investigation in the past against steel imports have resulted by complaints from Canadian steel manufacturers in Ontario and Quebec moving to protect their domestic market.
Making imported rebar harder to access would compromise the Western Canadian construction market sector, Khosla said as Western Canadian suppliers rely on offshore supplies. Shipping rebar from Eastern Canada steel mills can add as much as $160 per ton to costs compared to offshore imports to the Western seaboard where shipping cost range from $50-$55 a ton.
Western Canada has only one steel mill but it is only able to produce a small percentage of the Western Canada’s needs.