Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Canada could use tariffs to combat any "growing pressure" on steel dumping in Canada in order to circumvent new US restrictions.
The rates that Donald Trump released last week could send steel instead through Canada to avoid taxes, Trudeau said Tuesday at an ArcelorMittal Dofasco plant in Hamilton, Ontario. The prime minister toured the aluminum and steel production facilities, promising support for workers after the president of the United States exempted Canada and Mexico from protectionist measures.
"We are looking forward to that, we are working with partners in the industry, with our American partners, to ensure that does not happen," Trudeau said of the so-called transshipment. "We have a whole set of tariffs and countervailing duties that are at our disposal to move forward and ensure that we are not accepting steel produced or sold unfairly."
The president's decision last week exempted Canada and Mexico "at least this time," and called on North American Free Trade Agreement partners to "take measures to prevent the transshipment" of aluminum and steel .
The prime minister said that Canada has already implemented measures to stop the transshipment, such as increased customs control. Trudeau said some countries have lower labor and environmental standards, and although he does not specifically identify them, he later criticized China and Russia.
"When we talk about these things, very often China is mentioned, Russia is also mentioned," he said, according to comments translated from French by the Canadian Broadcasting Corp.
Canadian steel facilities do not they can compete fairly against countries that choose "to sell at a loss in order to control the market," he said. "We must worry about the actions the international community is taking and understand that we simply can not allow countries like that to destroy our local industry."