Hamilton chamber of commerce adds its voice to a federal study on the steel industry

Ship AlgoSteel about to dock in Hamilton with a load of iron ore.
Ship AlgoSteel about to dock in Hamilton with a load of iron ore. Stephen C. Host / File / The Canadian Press

The Hamilton Chamber of Commerce is weighing in on the future of Canada’s steel industry amid changing political tides internationally.

Policy analyst Huzaifa Saeed is one of several parties providing testimony to a House of Commons standing committee that is investigating how to stay competitive.

Saeed says that part of the problem is foreign steel dumping, pointing to countries like China and the impact of non-market economies.

“So they are protected and supported through taxation relief and special loans and grants and other subsidies by their national governments,” Saeed stressed, “who are then dumping steel at an astronomically low rate within the Canadian market.”

He said this is problematic for Canadian companies that are adhering to a different set of standards, particularly when it comes to the environment.

Although these actions can be brought to a tribunal, it has yet to stop the practice altogether.

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Saeed said the chamber is not proposing that Canada drop regulations. Instead, the recommendation is to revisit the procurement process in an effort to provide even footing.

Saeed said the chamber represents businesses that believe “the government in their award of procurement should consider the environmental cost, the labour cost.”

In a briefing document, the Hamilton Chamber also suggests a review of exporting countries that do not allow for similar or equal access to its markets for the same product.

Saeed said he expects to hear more on this file from the committee in advance of NAFTA talks later this year.

Arcelor Mittal Dofasco and Stelco are also expected to make an appearance before the committee.