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United Steelworkers’ national director Ken Neumann says the Liberal government’s decision to drop tariffs on Chinese steel for the construction of two west coast liquid natural gas plants is “absolutely ludicrous”.
“They should be embarrassed because what they’re doing is continuing to give to China. Here’s a country that continues to dump. They’ve been found guilty,” Neumann told The Post Millennial.
“And yet they’re going to allow these Canadian projects to use Chinese steel to manufacture some of these modules in China and bring them over here – to me that is just absolutely ludicrous.”
Asked about lifting tariffs during her joint press conference with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Ottawa Thursday, Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said “it’s something we are glad to be supporting and facilitating.”
“This is one of the biggest investments in Canadian history,” she said of the LNG projects. “It is going to create a greater number of new jobs in Canada and it’s an investment that Canadians can be proud of because it will contribute to the fight against climate change by making available Canadian LNG to replace coal in a lot of countries.”
Neumann described Freeland’s remarks as “skating around the issue, obviously.”
Back in June 2017, and at the urging of the USW, the Canadian International Trade Tribunal concluded its investigation into China’s dumping and levied duties against its steel.
The tribunal determined China was illegally exporting cut-rate fabricated steel into Canada; in some cases at nearly half the price of domestic equivalents.
According to the Canadian Institute of Steel Construction, federal largesse provided to project proponents Woodfibre LNG and LNG Canada in the wake of these tariffs – worth $275 million and $375 million respectively – were intended to offset the added costs.
Institute CEO and president, Ed Whalen now says that by waiving the tariffs for either endeavour – their combined value estimated at $42 billion – proponents are now get to double dip the discount.
“For the Liberal government to double down with a remission was not necessary. They got their duty money last fall and now they get it twice,” said Ed Whalen.
Among those countries are Korea, whose Korea Gas Corporation is part of LNG Canada’s consortium of companies that also includes PetroChina Company Limited, China’s largest oil and gas company.
Neumann said Ottawa’s decision to give China “a pass is just unconscionable”, and part of a pattern with the current federal government.
“They keep telling us how they stand up for the workers and ‘we’ve got your back’,” said Neumann.
“Unsurprisingly, they’re not prepared to own up to what they’re doing and that’s abandoning Canadian workers and the Canadian steel industry and that’s where our members work.”