Mon, Apr 08, 2019 - Page 16 News List

Steel faces impact from Canadian rules

THREE-YEAR PROGRAM:Canadian regulators have proposed regulations for heavy plate and stainless steel wire, which they said still menace Canada’s steel industry

By Natasha Li  /  Staff reporter

There would be a negative impact on Taiwanese steel products if Canadian safeguards are to continue after May 13, Taiwan’s Bureau of Foreign Trade said, citing a Canadian International Trade Tribunal report.

The report, released on Wednesday last week, followed months of inquiry into the effect of Ottawa’s emergency safeguards to protect Canadian steelmakers.

Five out of seven foreign products would no longer face a 25 percent provisional surtax in Canada, as the tribunal found inadequate evidence to continue the levy, the bureau said in a statement on its Web site on Friday.

Only heavy plate and stainless steel wire warranted ongoing safeguards, it said.

As imports of heavy plate and stainless steel wire are still a legitimate threat to Canada’s steel industry, the report recommended a limit on imports of heavy plate that would benefit from a three-year tariff exemption period, with tariffs of 20 percent on volumes exceeding the limit.

The limit would increase by 10 percentage points annually during the exemption period, while the 20 percent tariff would decrease by 5 percentage points each year, the report said.

For imports of stainless steel wire, the report also suggested a three-year exemption quota plus a 25 percent tariff on volumes above the limit. During the exemption period, the limit would increase by 10 percentage points annually, while the tariff would drop by 10 percentage points per year.

Canada is the biggest market for Taiwanese heavy plate, accounting for 35.44 percent of Taiwan’s global exports, while shipments of stainless steel wire to Canada only make up 3.01 percent of exports for that type of product, the bureau said.

Taiwan provides 2 percent of overall Canadian steel imports, with the US leading the way at 51 percent and China following at 7 percent, the bureau said.

However, in the event that the Canadian government implements the report’s recommendations, but excludes countries like the US, Chile, Mexico, Israel and South Korea, Taiwanese steelmakers would be greatly disadvantaged, it said.

Taiwan had already expressed its concerns on the matter during the investigation and sent delegates to attend public hearings in Canada, the bureau said.

Taiwan reserves the right to negotiate trade policies according to WTO guidelines, it said.

Canada started the provisional surtax on Oct. 25 last year to prevent potential dumping of foreign steel products after tariffs imposed by US President Donald Trump.

The seven steel products subject to the safeguard measures are heavy plate, concrete reinforcing bar, energy tubular products, hot-rolled sheet, pre-painted steel, stainless steel wire and wire rod.

Some nations whose steel products are already covered by a surtax countermeasure of 25 percent introduced in July last year — Canada’s free-trade agreement partners, lesser-developed countries that benefit from general preferential trade tariffs, and the US — are exempted from the surtax, which is valid until May 13.

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