As U.S. President Donald Trump exempts Canada from steep new tariffs on foreign steel and aluminum for another month, the Canadian government has quietly approved new promised measures aimed at cracking down on the dumping of such materials by countries like China.
Back in March, Trump announced he would impose tariffs of 25 per cent on foreign steel and 10 per cent on imported aluminum in a bid to make it more costly for companies in the U.S. to use steel not made by American producers. Those tariffs quickly roiled markets but Canada and Mexico both managed to secure temporary exemptions to the tariffs, which were set to expire at midnight on May 1.
Concerns in recent days centered around whether that exemption would be made permanent.
On Monday night, the White House issued a statement saying the exemption would remain in place until June 1, 2018.
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Trump has repeatedly suggested he sees the threat of the tariffs as ammunition to force negotiating partners to capitulate to U.S. demands during the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
While Prime Minister Justin Trudeau initially said targeting tariffs at Canada “makes no sense,” the government has taken a softer tone in recent weeks and stressed it is willing to work with the American administration to address concerns over steel and aluminum dumping by China on the North American market.
He announced a series of new measures aimed at tackling the problem on March 27.
Those measures included giving greater authority to the Canada Border Services Agency to conduct investigations into companies trying to dodge duties through practices like slightly modifying products or assembling them in Canada.
The agency will also get greater flexibility to calculate duties that must be paid when there is reason to believe the exporter’s domestic market distorts its prices.
Those measures were subject to a 15-day consultation period and have now been approved through several orders in council dated April 25.