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Share your views: Public consultations on the potential collection and publication of country of melt and pour information for steel imports under Canada's Steel Import Monitoring Program

Current status: Closed

Purpose of consultation

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Current steel import data

Global Affairs Canada (GAC) administers the Steel Import Monitoring Program. For 2021, there were over 375,000 steel import transactions subject to the Program. Presently, steel goods covered by the Program are imported under General Import Permits (GIPs) No. 80 and 81 of the Export and Import Permits Act. Importers are required to cite the applicable GIP on the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) customs declaration form. Relevant information from the customs declaration is automatically transmitted to GAC. The department then publishes the customs data in weekly steel import reports that provide aggregate data on the type, quantity, origin, and value of steel imports. The reports are a preliminary source of raw information for government and industry to track possible trends in real time. The reports are available at: Steel import monitoring program reports.

Note that the customs declaration form will be replaced with the Commercial Accounting Declaration under the CBSA Assessment and Revenue Management (CARM) initiative, scheduled for release in 2023.

General Import Permits (GIPs) and recent changes to terms and conditions

In 2012, and as part of an effort to streamline government regulations, the shipment specific permits were replaced with the steel GIPs. This was possible as the CBSA introduced its Pathfinder software system, which allowed for the timely transfer of steel import customs data collected by the CBSA to GAC. In this context, GIPs would minimize permit costs, improve supply-chain efficiency, and reduce financial and administrative burdens for importers, while allowing GAC to continue to obtain and publish timely robust steel import data.

In August 2019, as part of an effort to improve data accuracy of Canada's Steel Import Monitoring Program, steel GIPs No. 80 and 81 were amended to include reporting and recordkeeping requirements. These new requirements help in identifying potential discrepancies in import data and in determining the source of any inconsistencies in a targeted manner. As a result of these changes, importers are required to retain for a period of six years following importation, documents and records related to shipments of subject steel goods, and provide supporting documents for specific shipments to GAC upon request. These recent changes allow GAC to conduct monthly targeted data discrepancy verifications for steel shipments covered by the GIPs in order to further improve steel import data accuracy.

Further information is available at: Notice to Importers – Steel General Import Permits No. 80 and 81 – Carbon and Specialty Steel Products – Serial No. 1032

Joint Statement by Canada and the United States on Section 232 Duties on Steel and Aluminum

On May 17, 2019, Canada and the United States released a Joint Statement on Section 232 Duties on Steel and Aluminum, whereby the United States agreed to eliminate the National Security Section 232 tariffs imposed on June 1, 2018,  on imports of aluminum and steel from Canada, and Canada agreed to eliminate the tariffs that it imposed in retaliation. The Joint Statement noted that the United States and Canada would establish an agreed-upon process for monitoring aluminum and steel trade between them and that in monitoring for surges, either country may treat products made with steel that is melted and poured in North America separately from products that are not. 

U.S. approach to country of melt and pour (COM)

The United States began collecting COM information for steel imports into the United States on October 13, 2020, and publishing certain aggregate COM information on January 19, 2021. In general, the U.S. defines “country of melt and pour” as “the original location where the raw steel is first produced in a steel-making furnace in a liquid state and then poured into its first solid shape".

In recent agreements related to Section 232 measures reached with the European Union, Japan, and the United Kingdom, the United Sates has specified that in order to be eligible for duty-free treatment, steel imports must be "melted and poured" in these countries. At this time, the United States is the only country that is collecting COM information for steel imports.

Current situation in Canada

Canada currently does not collect COM information for steel imports, nor is Canada under any international trade obligation to do so. Given the volume of data involved, careful consideration will be given to finding a balance between the efficacy and efficiency of collecting COM information and the impact on the import process. Several potential approaches to collecting COM information have been identified and are highlighted below.

Potential approaches for collecting country of melt and pour information

The following  options are included for discussion purposes only and are meant to stimulate discussion – it is possible that there may be other options to collect and publish COM data. The Government of Canada welcomes suggestions in this regard.

  1. Require importers to retain COM information for individual shipments of all steel imports subject to the Steel Import Monitoring Program, and provide the data to GAC upon request. This option would allow GAC to have access to COM information for specific shipments on an ad-hoc basis upon request, but would not allow for the publication of regularly updated aggregate COM data.
  2. Use the customs declaration system to require importers of steel goods to provide COM information when completing their customs declaration. This approach aligns with the current method for importing steel and would allow for the collection and publication of data for all imports.
  3. Re-instate the requirement for importers to obtain a shipment-specific permit for all steel imports rather than using the steel GIPs. This option could capture COM information for all steel imports and could produce aggregate COM data on all steel imports. The data collected by GAC, however, would reflect planned imports as opposed to actual import data.
  4. Maintain the status quo and not collect COM information.

Key considerations

In assessing any potential changes to the Steel Import Monitoring Program, GAC will consider their impact on:

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