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Canada to invest C$100 million to support steel, aluminum users

Pittsburgh — Canada's federal government said Monday it will invest C$100 million ($74.6 million) to support small- and medium-sized steel and aluminum manufacturers and users throughout the country in response to the US Section 232 tariffs.

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The funds will provide targeted support to Canadian businesses within the steel and aluminum manufacturing sectors, Navdeep Bains, Canada's minister of innovation, science and economic development, said while announcing the funding at Nova Steel Monday. The non-repayable contributions will support projects aimed at enhancing productivity, increasing competitiveness and adopting new technologies, according to Bains.

"We recognize these industries have been subjected to and impacted by unfair and illegal tariffs imposed by the United States under Section 232," Bains said. "These aluminum and steel tariffs are completely unacceptable."

The initiative is expected to support roughly 300 small- and medium-sized users of steel and aluminum, Bains said. In order to qualify for funding, steel or aluminum must represent at least 20% of a company's input costs, he added.

The C$100 million investment announced Monday is separate from a C$2 billion investment announced by the Canadian government in March 2018 aimed at protecting Canadian workers and businesses in the steel, aluminum and manufacturing industries in the wake of the US import tariffs, Bains noted.

Discussions between the US and Canada regarding the removal of the US' Section 232 metals tariffs have been ongoing. The US, which began applying the 232 tariffs to Canada's steel and aluminum exports in June 2018, "very much" wants to come to an agreement with Canada and Mexico regarding alternate arrangements to the US Section 232 tariffs on steel and aluminum; however, whether such an agreement will be reached remains unclear, US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said at the end of February.

-- Justine Coyne, justine.coyne@spglobal.com

-- Edited by Annie Siebert, newsdesk@spglobal.com

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