PITTSBURGH, May 17, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- The United Steelworkers union (USW) released the following statement today after the United States, Canada and Mexico reached an agreement on lifting U.S. Section 232 sanctions on aluminum and steel imports into the United States and ending retaliatory action by Canada and Mexico.
"Today's agreement will help restore confidence and stability to the North American steel and aluminum markets," said USW International President Leo W. Gerard. "From day one, we made it clear that the real problem isn't Canada or Mexico, but those countries that are undermining the trading system through predatory trade practices and non-market policies that have created massive overcapacity and trade imbalance.
"We must now focus on ensuring that the production, employment and investments that the 232 actions stimulated continue and that our core national security interests are advanced.
"Let's not forget that the basis for this action was protecting our national security and critical infrastructure. That objective remains, and today's agreement, with its monitoring provisions, will ensure this goal is met.
"Tariffs on steel and aluminum have already strengthened these critical U.S. industries, and workers are either back at work or being trained for new jobs necessary to meet our nation's needs.
"Today's deal should not only ensure that our unique economic, defense, security and intelligence relationship with Canada remains strong, but that our equally skilled Canadian members in steel and aluminum will no longer be hurt."
"Steel and aluminum are the backbone of our nation's economy, defense and critical infrastructure," said USW International Vice President Tom Conway. "The Section 232 action has helped stabilize and promote the U.S. industry's position and protected and increased jobs.
"Canada and Mexico, as a result of today's deal, are expected to be partners in ensuring that unfairly traded products won't undermine the strength of our steel and aluminum companies. New monitoring provisions will allow for early detection if transshipment and circumvention occur. These provisions must be strictly enforced, and we will be on the lookout for product surges fostered by metal traders who are trying to take advantage of our market.
"We expect that the companies that benefitted from the Section 232 actions and today's deal will invest in their operations and their workers, rather than jeopardizing our security interests by lining their pockets.
"The USW has fought for relief against unfair trade, and it is our fight that has helped foster the strength of these industries."
The USW represents 850,000 workers in North America employed in many industries that include metals, rubber, chemicals, paper, oil refining and the service and public sectors.
Holly Hart, 202-778-4384
SOURCE United Steelworkers (USW)