Harper Government Cuts Red Tape on Steel Imports

New trade initiative will save steel companies $10 million per year and contribute to economic growth and long-term prosperity

April 1, 2012 - The Honourable Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway, today announced the implementation of a new import system for steel and steel products. This measure, taking effect today, will reduce congestion at the Canada-U.S. border and remove the financial and administrative burden facing Canadian businesses.

“This is good news for the Canadian steel industry,” said Minister Fast. “This new system will reduce business costs, facilitate cross-border trade and improve the monitoring of steel imports, thereby saving Canadian steel companies $10 million a year. Lower costs for businesses mean more jobs and higher wages for workers, both of which contribute to economic growth and long-term prosperity for hardworking Canadians.”

Canadian manufacturers, producers, distributors and purchasers of imported steel and steel products will no longer be required to obtain individual permits. Instead, they will use general import permits for all steel imports covered by the Federal Import Control List. Once implemented, the new border measure will eliminate the need for some 270,000 permits annually.

“Modernizing this administrative process will save millions of dollars,” said David Sweet, Member of Parliament for Ancaster-Dundas-Flamborough-Westdale. “But more importantly, reducing red tape allows steel producers in Hamilton and elsewhere in Canada to focus on what they do best: producing quality steel.”

“These new measures to streamline regulations and reduce the cost of import permits help improve the efficiency of North American supply chains and enhance manufacturing competitiveness in Canada,” said Ron Watkins, President of the Canadian Steel Producers Association (CSPA). “We have advocated for such measures through the North American Steel Trade Committee and we welcome this change.”

According to the CSPA, Canada’s $14-billion steel industry generates 25,000 jobs in Canada directly and supports a further 100,000 jobs indirectly. Exports account for over one half of shipments, with imports of steel and steel products totalling $8.5 billion in 2010. An estimated three quarters of all manufactured goods contain steel, the most widely used metal and the most recycled material on earth. In 2011, Canada’s steel industry recycled seven million tonnes of steel.

By introducing more streamlined border processes for trade, this initiative is consistent with the Harper government’s commitment to reducing red tape. Reducing red tape for steel imports allows businesses to sustain the economic recovery and increases the flow of trade, in keeping with the government’s priorities under the Canada-United States Regulatory Cooperation Council and Beyond the Border Action Plan - Single Window Initiative.

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A backgrounder follows.

For further information, media representatives may contact:

Rudy Husny
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Ed Fast
Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway
613-992-7332

Trade Media Relations Office
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada
613-996-2000
Follow us on Twitter: @Canada_Trade

Backgrounder - New Border Measure on Steel Imports

The Government of Canada is committed to removing financial and administrative burdens facing Canadian businesses. Consistent with the government’s priorities under the Red Tape Reduction Commission, the Canada-United States Regulatory Cooperation Council and the Beyond the Border Action Plan – Single Window Initiative, this new measure, which has been the subject of ongoing discussions with industry stakeholders for several years, will:

  • Reduce red tape and duplication;
  • Eliminate the need to apply for shipment-specific permits; and
  • Facilitate cross-border trade.

It is anticipated that the new border measure will save Canadian importers, manufacturers, producers, distributors and purchasers of steel and steel products covered by the Federal Import Control List approximately $10 million per year, mostly from customs broker service charges and other related costs.

Importers of steel represent the largest group using Canada’s import and export permit system. In 2009, steel importers received over 65 percent or nearly 270,000 of the 420,000 import permits issued that year. After April 1, 2012, under the new general import permits, this percentage will fall to zero.

About Beyond the Border Action Plan - Single Window Initiative

The Canada Border Services Agency and U.S. Customs and Border Protection will provide traders with a single window through which they can electronically submit all information required to comply with customs and other government regulations. This information would then be assessed by the relevant government departments and agencies, and border-related decisions would be transmitted electronically. This will: 

  • Fully implement and align single-window programs for imports into the two countries.
  • Convert the data requirements of all participating government departments and agencies to electronic form by 2013. 
  • In carrying out this conversion, departments and agencies will review their existing regulatory requirements and identify for conversion only all information essential to regulatory processes.
  • As an interim milestone, convert border-related decision processes for at least the top four priority departments and agencies to electronic form no later than December 2013.