While foreign steel dumping hasn't caused harm yet, it is threatening to do so determined a recent investigation by Canadian International Trade Tribunal (CITT).
"What's clear is that the tribunal recognized that this is a big threat to our industry" said Tareq Ali, communications director for the Canadian Institute of Steel Construction.
The tribunal found that the dumping of concrete reinforcing bar, originating in or exported from China, South Korea and Turkey, as well as the subsidizing of concrete reinforcing bar originating or exported from China, have not caused but are threatening to cause injury to the domestic industry.
The CITT noted that anti-dumping and countervailing duties will be collected by the Canada Border Services Agency.
The complainants in the case were Alta Steel Ltd. of Edmonton, ArcelorMittal LCNA and ArcelorMittal Montreal Inc. of Contrecœur, Que. and Gerdau Longsteel North America of Whitby, Ont.
The tribunal, an independent quasi-judicial body that reports to Parliament through the Minister of Finance will issue the reasons for its finding on Jan. 26. It hears cases about dumped and subsidized imports, safeguard complaints, complaints about federal government procurement and appeals of customs and excise tax rulings. When requested by the federal government, the tribunal also provides advice on other economic, trade and tariff matters.
Ali said that while the institute is hoping the government will do more to address the issue of dumping, it is a step in the right direction.
Ali said that the industry began to notice roughly a year ago that a large amount of low-priced, imported rebar was coming into the country. He said in some offshore markets, this is done when demand slows and there is over capacity.
The practice is known as "dumping."
"Just a slight drop in demand creates over capacity so they are sitting on inventory," he said. "We are fully supportive of fair and free trade, but it has to be free and fair."
He said the artificially low prices have a huge impact on domestic businesses, which can't compete with dumped or subsidized overseas product.
"This is a systemic problem that we are dealing with in all manufacturing sectors," he said.
Ali said the institute is continuing to dialogue with government to address the issue of dumping. He said they key isn't producing protectionist legislation, but simply to make trade fair and mutually beneficial.