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Steel and aluminum

Canada’s steel and aluminum industries are key contributors to the Canadian economy, providing well-paying jobs and key inputs for other major industries, including energy, advanced manufacturing, construction, and auto-making.

In 2021, the Canadian steel industry employed over 23,700 workers and contributed $2.8 billion to Canada’s gross domestic product (GDP). For the same year, the Canadian aluminum industry employed approximately 11,000 workers and contributed $3.4 billion to our GDP.

The Canadian and United States (U.S.) steel and aluminum industries are deeply integrated, and underpin continental supply chains that strengthen the global competitiveness of the North American economy. Canada is a longstanding safe and secure supplier of steel and aluminum to the U.S. defence industry.

Canada imports more steel from the U.S. than any other country in the world, accounting for nearly 45% of U.S. exports. In 2021, $17.4 billion of steel was traded between Canada and the United States.

On aluminum, Canada and the U.S. share a highly integrated market with combined trade of $16.9 billion in 2021. About 90% of Canada’s primary aluminum production is exported to the United States, where it is used as an important input for further processing into products for U.S. domestic and export markets.

U.S. tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum

On June 1, 2018, the U.S. imposed a 25 percent tariff on imports of Canadian steel and a 10 percent tariff on imports of Canadian aluminum under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act, which relates to perceived effect of imports on U.S. national security. In response, Canada imposed retaliatory tariffs against a proportionate amount of imports from the United States.

On May 17, 2019, the U.S. and Canada issued a joint statement announcing the elimination of the Section 232 tariffs against Canada and Canada’s countermeasures against the U.S., and the end to all related WTO litigation.

On August 6, 2020, the U.S. announced the imposition of tariffs of 10 per cent on imports of certain aluminum products from Canada, which took effect on August 16, 2020.

On September 15, 2020, the U.S. Trade Representative announced the return of tariff-free treatment of Canadian aluminum, effective September 1, 2020.

Steel Safeguards

For the period from May 13, 2019 to October 24, 2021, the Government of Canada imposed final safeguards in the form of tariff rate quotas (TRQs) on imports of certain heavy plate and stainless steel wire goods. These TRQs were administered by Global Affairs Canada by way of shipment-specific imports permits. Subsequently to the expiry of these safeguard measures, importers are no longer required to apply for shipment-specific import permits to import subject goods free of the safeguard surtax, and are to use General Import Permit No. 80 or 81, as applicable, for their shipments.

General Import Permit – Aluminum Products

In the context of global conditions affecting trade in aluminum, the Government of Canada has deemed it necessary to enhance Canada’s aluminum import monitoring capabilities. The addition of aluminum to the Import Control List under Item 83 and the General Import Permit No. 83 – Aluminum Products, came into force on September 1, 2019.

General Import Permits – Carbon and Specialty Steel Products

The Government of Canada has deemed it necessary to enhance Canada’s steel import monitoring capabilities by adding a reporting and record keeping requirement to the steel General Import Permits No. 80 and 81. Please refer to the Notice to Importers, Serial No. 1032 for detailed information on these amendments including import requirements and procedures.

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