The Federal Government Gives the Green Light to China at Expense of Middle-Class Construction Workers

MARKHAM, Ontario, Nov. 15, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- It has been reported that the Canadian Minister of Finance, Bill Morneau, has indicated a strong support towards granting LNG Canada a waiver on anti-dumping duties for fabricated structural steel. If granted, LNG Canada, a joint venture that includes PetroChina, will undermine Canadian construction and industrial workers by giving Canada’s largest infrastructure project in history to China—a proven dumping and subsidizing nation.

“It’s shocking that the Canadian government would be so willing to allow and encourage the use of illegally dumped and subsidized fabricated steel, especially because the spin-off effect will see all trades suffer,” says Ed Whalen, President & CEO of the Canadian Institute of Steel Construction (CISC). “Our federal government has been sold a bill of goods and are taking it hook, line and sinker. To take such an important project away from Canadians is a crime. We can build complex naval ships on both coasts, but we can’t build construction modules of smaller size and complexity? It’s insane.”

As we wait on the pending approval of LNG Canada’s request from Minister Morneau, all Canadian industrial construction jobs are at risk. Thousands of Canadian industrial construction workers in plants and on sites will be passed on if the Canadian government gives the waiver to LNG Canada and allows them to sole source from China. LNG Canada is looking to offshore almost their entire project in Kitimat, B.C., worth $40 billion, by using a construction model called modularization.

“Canadian construction workers want to work,” says Whalen. “We need to rely on our federal government to prioritize the needs of the middle-class and allow them to gain from this once-in-a-generation opportunity. It is paramount to the survival of the steel construction industry, the middle-class and ultimately, all construction sectors, to keep our construction jobs in Canada.”

The adverse effects on the middle-class, and in turn, the Canadian economy, will be felt heavily if China is allowed to have an unfair advantage by illegally dumping and subsidizing their construction products into Canada. Our steel construction industry currently has the capacity and the infrastructure to successfully and fairly build the structural steel components for LNG modules. It is essential to the survival of our construction workers and businesses that the Canadian government stands behind our capable industry and protects Canadians from the offshoring of these construction jobs.

The CISC is urging Minister Morneau to abide by the Canadian International Trade Tribunal’s (CITT) 2017 decision on fabricated industrial steel components (FISC) by refusing the request submitted by LNG Canada to escape the duties on illegal trade. This decision is critical and will set a precedent for all future construction and investment in Canada. The federal government must enforce fair trade to ensure that Canada, including the steel construction sector, can remain globally competitive and the Canadian middle-class can not only grow, but also strengthen.

The CITT levied trade duties against China in June 2017. China was proven to be illegally dumping fabricated steel into Canada at up to 48 per cent, in addition to illegally subsidizing its industry at up to $2,300 per metric tonne. Since then, LNG Canada has requested a waiver on these duties in order to complete any related projects with use of illegally dumped Chinese fabricated structural steel and modules.

The Canadian Institute of Steel Construction (CISC) is Canada’s voice for the steel construction industry, providing leadership in sustainable design, construction, efficiency, quality and innovation. The CISC’s efforts aim to advance the use and benefits of steel, protect Canadian market share, as well as advocate for a diverse community made up of manufacturers, fabricators, service centres, erectors, consultants, detailers, industry suppliers, owners and developers.

The Canadian steel construction sector is a vibrant $5 billion industry, which employs over 130,000 people in its supply chain.

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