Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks with workers during a visit to Stelco Hamilton Works in Hamilton Ont., Tuesday, March 13, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tara Walton

Trudeau: Canada won’t be a back door for cheap steel

Trudeau says measures available to prevent Canada being used as back door for steel

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he has an array of measures, including tariffs, to prevent the world’s producers of cheap steel from using Canada as a back door to slip the metal into the United States.

Speaking in Hamilton on Tuesday, just days after U.S. President Donald Trump decided against import tariffs on Canadian aluminum and steel, Trudeau said tougher border controls have been put in place to ensure proper monitoring of incoming products.

“We have a whole suite of tariffs and countervailing duties that are at our disposal to move forward and ensure that we are not accepting in unfairly-produced or sold steel into Canada,” Trudeau said while at a steel plant.

“As I said to the congressional leadership, as I said to the president last week: We are always happy to better co-ordinate and to work together to do even more to ensure that we are protecting the North American steel industry.”

RELATED: Canada will not bend to U.S. steel tariff pressure in NAFTA talks: Freeland

Trudeau said the surplus of steel in the global market is not new and with American tariffs in place, some countries might try to ship to the U.S. through Canada.

However, he said, Canada would be alert to that and work with industry partners and the Americans to make sure that didn’t happen.

Trudeau said the national security argument the U.S. has made when it comes to considering tariffs for Canadian steel and aluminum makes no sense — a refrain he’s hammered in recent weeks.

He said he began talking about steel with Trump at the G7 summit in Sicily last year, when he was emphatic that Canada poses no national security threat to the U.S.

“National security issues do not apply — could not apply to Canada — when we have our aluminum in their fighter jets, our steel that goes into their armoured vehicles,” Trudeau said. “We know that the collaboration on NORAD, the collaboration on national security issues narrow and broadly is something that is really important to both of our countries.”

Asked whether he trusted the president, Trudeau said Trump has always kept his word to him and has been consistent in doing what he said he would do.

Trudeau’s comments came during a tour of Canadian steel-producing towns, where he is showing support for workers in the industry. On Tuesday, he began his day by touring a Stelco plant in Hamilton, where he chatted with workers and stressed the importance of the industry.

RELATED: PM and Trump talk: U.S. in hurry for NAFTA deal, using tariff threat as leverage

He asked after their families and how they had been coping with the possibility of U.S. tariffs that he had repeatedly said would have a devastating impact in Canada.

Later, at a roundtable with industry leaders, he spoke again of the importance of steel to Hamilton, saying he was there to listen. Following the roundtable, Trudeau headed to a second plant, this time Dofasco, for another tour.

“We’re going to ensure that Canadian steel is Canadian steel,” he said at Dofasco, where he also promised unspecified measures to better protect workers’ pensions where companies go under, downsize substantially, or are otherwise bought out.

Trudeau also expressed optimism about reaching a good North American free-trade agreement that will benefit Canada as well as the U.S. and Mexico — despite Trump’s constant refrain that the current deal is a bad one.

Trump recently exempted Canada and Mexico from tariffs on steel and aluminum, although the U.S. government has been dropping hints that the exception is only temporary.

Some observers saw the tariff threat as an attempt by the Trump administration to pressure Canada and Mexico to complete the NAFTA talks — giving in to other U.S. demands or giving up some of their own

Colin Perkel, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

A Q&A with B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson

The Vancouver-Quilchena MLA stopped in Cranbrook to address Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday

Election 2018: Rasmussen running for city council

Former RCMP officer seeking a seat at the city council table

Jumbo’s legal boondoggle continues

Province appealing the BC Supreme Court decision

Cranbrook introduces draft cannabis bylaws

As legalization date approaches, there remains more questions than answers, say staff

More burning prohibitions rescinded in southeast B.C.

Category 2 and 3 fires will be permitted in Southeast Fire Centre as of 1p.m. on Wednesday.

VIDEO: Messages of hope, encouragement line bars of B.C. bridge

WARNING: This story contains references to suicide and may not be appropriate for all audiences.

Fresh-faced Flames fend off Canucks 4-1

Vancouver drops second straight NHL exhibition contest

VIDEO: B.C. deer struggles with life-preserver caught in antlers

Campbell River resident captures entangled deer on camera

Scheer pushes Trudeau to re-start Energy East pipeline talks

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer questioned the Prime Minister over Trans Mountain project

Mistaken identity: Missing dog claimed in Moose Jaw belongs to another family

Brennen Duncan was reunited with a white Kuvasz that was found in Saskatchewan

Abandoned kitten safe and sound thanks to B.C. homeless man

‘Jay’ found little black-and-white kitten in a carrier next to a dumpster by a Chilliwack pet store

Police chief defends controversial marijuana seizure

Advocates said cannabis was part of an opioid-substitution program in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside

Trans Mountain completes Burrard Inlet spill exercise

Training required, some work continues on pipeline expansion

Supporters of B.C. man accused of murdering Belgian tourist pack courtoom

Family and friends of Sean McKenzie, 27, filled the gallery for brief court appearance in Chilliwack

Most Read