Statement from Premier Kathleen Wynne on U.S. Steel and Aluminum Tariffs

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Premier Kathleen Wynne released the following statement today on U.S. tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum imports:

“News today of the Trump administration’s decision to impose steep tariffs on steel and aluminum imported from Canada is unacceptable. This short-sighted decision is an attack on Ontario’s steel industry and its workers. It is not the action of a friend, an ally or economic partner. 

This decision not only undermines the long-standing and mutually beneficial trade relationship between our two countries, it threatens countless jobs, businesses and workers on both sides of the border. 

I share our federal government’s view that as a key NORAD and NATO ally, any trade restrictions on Canadian steel and aluminum are absolutely unacceptable and that an exemption from steel and aluminum tariffs on imports from Canada should be made permanent and unconditional. 

I spoke to the Prime Minister yesterday to express our concern and to call on the federal government to take the strongest retaliation possible to protect our workers and our steel and aluminum industries. I will also ask the federal government to immediately provide support to the sector, and if re-elected, an Ontario Liberal government would make that its first priority. I am also asking that the leaders of the Progressive Conservative and New Democratic parties join with me to ensure that Ontario is speaking with one united voice on this matter. 

Canada is a safe and secure supplier of steel and aluminum to the U.S., and in fact buys more American steel than the rest of the world combined. Ontario is home to more than 70 per cent of Canada's steel-making capacity, supporting good jobs in related industries including our automotive, energy and construction sectors. As such, Ontario's steel businesses are a crucial part of North America's steel and broader manufacturing infrastructure.

As this situation has been unfolding, I have been encouraged by the responses I have heard from U.S. business and political leaders, who agree that U.S. duties on Canadian steel and aluminum would unravel the North American industry’s integrated supply chains and jeopardize millions of American jobs. Through our efforts to strengthen Ontario’s ties with our key partners across the U.S., I know there are many supportive voices willing to work with us to create ongoing opportunities for partnership, such as the Governors of Indiana and Michigan, each of whom recently signed MOUs with Ontario to enhance economic cooperation.

My message to the workers and business leaders in Ontario’s steel and aluminum sectors is clear: in these uncertain times, I will always stand up for your interests and will continue to work with you to ensure these key industries remain competitive in the North American market, and across the globe.”

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