Changes Announced to the Administration of the Provisional Steel Safeguard Measures in Canada

February 5, 2019

Canada’s provisional steel safeguard measures have been in place since 25th October 2018, imposing tariff rate quotas (TRQs) on imports of steel products in seven broad categories: i.e., heavy steel plate, concrete reinforcing bar, energy tubular products (encompassing line pipe and oil country tubular goods), hot-rolled steel sheet, pre-painted steel products, stainless steel wire, and steel wire rod (see “Canada Announces Provisional Steel Safeguard Measures”).

In accordance with Canada’s WTO obligations, the provisional safeguard measures may only be applied for a total of 200 days. For the purposes of administering the TRQs, the Canadian authorities separated the 200-day provisional period into four 50-day quota periods (see Global Affairs Canada, “Notice to Importers” re “Item 82 – Steel Goods”, Serial No. 911 (11 October 2018)). We are currently in the third quota period, which runs from 2nd February through to 23rd March 2019. The fourth quota period will follow, running from 24th March until 12th May 2019.

On or about Monday 4th February, the Trade Controls Bureau at Global Affairs Canada published a new “Notice to Importers” (Serial no. 936, dated 1st February 2019). This new Notice sets out some significant changes to the administration of the quotas for imports of energy tubular goods and wire rod.

Before the provisional safeguard measures expire at the end of the 200-day period, the Government of Canada will decide whether or not to impose definitive safeguard measures. This decision will be based in part on the findings and recommendations issued by the Canadian International Trade Tribunal further to its current safeguard inquiry.

The public proceedings in this inquiry have recently concluded. The Tribunal is currently considering all of the evidence and deliberating on the following key issues: (i) whether there has been a surge of steel products imported into Canada; (ii) whether such a surge is causing or threatening to cause serious injury to the domestic producers of “like” steel products; (iii) whether definitive safeguard measures are warranted for a three-year period; and (iv) if so, the most appropriate safeguard measures to impose in order to protect the domestic industry while minimizing the impact on the rest of the Canadian economy. It is expected that the Tribunal will publish its findings, recommendations, and reasons on or about 3rd April 2019.

Tereposky & DeRose LLP regularly provides advice on international trade agreements, including the CETA, the NAFTA, the CPTPP, and the forthcoming USMCA,  as well as trade remedy measures such as global safeguards.  Should you have any questions regarding these or any other trade-related issues, we are at your disposal.


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