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Maintain Duties on Illegally Dumped Rebar; Steelworkers Ask Tribunal

VANCOUVER – The United Steelworkers is calling on the Canadian International Trade Tribunal to maintain duties on illegally dumped and subsidized rebar from China, South Korea and Turkey.

“Canada’s basic steel industry employs more than 20,000 Steelworkers in decent middle-class jobs and supports more than 100,000 Canadian jobs indirectly. Removing duties from illegally dumped rebar into the Canadian market threatens jobs and is not in the public’s interest,” said Ken Neumann, USW National Director.

The United Steelworkers (USW) appears before the Canadian International Trade Tribunal’s (CITT) Public Interest Inquiry on July 31. Rebar, or reinforcement steel, is used to reinforce concrete in construction.

“Of particular concern is rebar from China, the largest exporter to Canada. Low labour costs, combined with disregard for worker health and safety, gives China an unfair price advantage ranging from 39 to 42%,” said Alex McKinnon, head of the USW Research Department.

“Reducing or removing duties on rebar would threaten to start a race to the bottom, unfairly pitting Canadian workers against those in China, South Korea and Turkey,” said Neumann.

“It’s not just the dumping of rebar that threatens our members’ jobs and our country’s public interest. Exporting countries have shown a disregard for health and safety and the environment and pay poor wages to workers,” said Neumann.

Highlights of the USW submission to the CITT Public Interest Inquiry include:

  • Approximately 20,000 members of the USW work in the basic steel industry, and an additional 100,000 Canadian jobs are indirectly supported by the industry
  • China’s low labour costs means workers are paid on average $1.68 CAD/hour
  • China’s steel production remains high in spite of weak demand
  • Weak worker health and safety regimes in China, Turkey and South Korea are a serious threat to workers and contribute to lower labour costs
  • Rebar produced in China does not adhere to sufficient environmental standards

“What’s at stake here is not just any job, but good middle-class jobs,” said Neumann. “Good paying, community- and family-supporting union jobs reduce inequality, strengthen local economies and promote civic engagement.”

The USW is calling for the CITT to maintain and enforce current countervailing duties on illegally dumped rebar. The tribunal is expected to issue its findings in September.

Background on USW Submission


For further information:

Ken Neumann, USW National Director, 416-544-5951
Alex McKinnon, USW Research Department, 416-544-5981, amckinnon@usw.ca
Bob Gallagher, USW Communications, 416-544-5966, 416-434-2221, bgallagher@usw.ca

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