Safeguard action related to imports of certain steel products

In response to the new us tariffs on aluminum and steel, the Government of Canada (the “Government”) is preparing safeguards in order to account for a predicted inflow of redirected steel.  The Government has vowed to “stand up for steel and aluminium workers and industry”.

On August 14, 2018, the Department of Finance announced the steps for the steps to prevent diversion of steel products into Canada, which will be begin with public consultations on the matter.  There is currently an invitation to submit views on the matter.

The Proposed Safeguards and Products They Affect

As announced on June 29, 2018, the Government is working with domestic producers of:

  • steel plate;
  • concrete reinforcing bar; and
  • energy tubular products.

They are working on an appropriate response, including provisional safeguards, to prevent increases in imports.

The Government is also actively considering whether similar measures are warranted in the case of:

  • hot-rolled sheet;
  • pre-painted steel;
  • wire rod; and
  • stainless steel wire.

The Government will continue to monitor the import situation and work with stakeholders to determine whether additional products may be considered for safeguards at a later date.”

Provisional safeguards may take the form of a surtax that applies to all subject imports or a surtax that only applies to subject imports that exceed a specified quantity threshold (i.e., tariff-rate quota).

Written Comments:

Written comments should be provided no later than August 29, 2018. Submissions, at a minimum, should include the following information and address the following issues:

  1. Canadian company/industry association name, address, telephone number, and contact person.
  2. Identify the steel product(s) to which the submission pertains.
  3. Views concerning whether safeguard action in respect of imports of the concerned products is warranted, supported by reasons for these views.
  4. Any supplementary information to support the views made in the submission in support of or opposed to safeguard action.
  5. Views concerning an appropriate remedy, should the imposition of provisional safeguards be warranted, including detailed information substantiating any expected beneficial or adverse impacts.
  6. Indicate if information provided in the submission is commercially sensitive.

Comments and general inquiries should be sent to the following address: International Trade Policy Division (Safeguards), Department of Finance, James Michael Flaherty Building, 14th Floor, 90 Elgin Street, Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0G5, 613-369-4024 (fax), (

Will My Opinion Matter?

It remains to be seen whether the Government is going to take into any input from public commentary.

It is entirely possible that the decision for safeguards is a done deal and this invitation to submit views is purely for the perception that there is public input on the matter.

Stay Tuned…

As the safeguards are implemented (or not) we will provide updates!

John Reiterowski, DS Lawyers Canada, LLP

DS Customs & Trade team located in Paris, Brussels, Montreal, Toronto, Lima, Singapore, Vietnam, Beijing, Guangzhou, Dakar and Cotonou is at your disposal to provide you with additional information.


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