Make no mistake, this would directly affect Ontario in the worst possible way. There has been a great deal of chatter lately regarding NAFTA and yesterday the President of the United States took those fears to a new level by stating that the US steel and aluminum sectors have been decimated by unfair trade and suggested a possible solution to this. He thinks imposing a full ‘across the board’ tariff of 25% on steel and 10% tariff on aluminum imports is the answer.
Let’s not mince words here…. the implications of this, if enacted to include Canada, would be downright devastating to the Golden Horseshoe area. A great deal of the steel exported from Canada originates from our Hamilton steel producers and when considering we are talking about 9000 employees the personal impact to potential job loss is significant. Compounding onto this are the smaller manufacturers and suppliers who help feed this industry and in fact, speaking directly about Stoney Creek, a large business segment is Manufacturing; many of our companies provide these products and services. A strong local economy for us here in Ontario relies heavily on big business and the trickle-down effect would be devastating to our medium and small sized businesses.
The US is concerned with keeping jobs in their own country and this is not an uncommon want or need by any leader. Countries want to keep their industries strong and keep people working. However, announcing what appears to be a knee jerk reaction completely underestimates how tightly woven our two economies are and how essential it is to have incoming quality product for a company to in fact, continue producing. The steel producers in the US would benefit from this change however their larger industry, by far, is steel user industries. Without a steady flow of incoming product would directly result in a production slowdown or worse yet, a stop to them.
Our hope is that cooler heads will prevail and the real underlying problem of steel dumping, which has long been a concern to both Canada and the US, gets targeted appropriately.
The Stoney Creek Chamber will continue to actively follow and report on the situation. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.