Mischief Mongering of Canadian Steel Producers Association
In a July 30 press release, the Canadian Steel Producers Association (CSPA) writes, “International benchmarking by Global Efficiency Intelligence has ranked Canada’s steel producers as first and second in the world by major production type, well ahead of China, and other key steel-producing nations.”
The CSPA concocts a view of the Canadian steel industry that does not exist. It presents the sector as controlled and owned by Canadians and operating in their interests and those of its employees within a North American market. All those outside the North American market are vilified and seen as inferior enemy competitors.
This distorts the reality that Canadians do not own and control their steel industry. It operates within a North American free trade zone that was decided in opposition to their wishes. The main steel company in Canada, ArcelorMittal, produces more steel outside Canada and outside North America than it produces here. Following the logic of the CSPA, ArcelorMittal is a competitor to itself.
Mentioning China as a competitor in Canada’s steel market is deceptive as that steel-producing country accounted for only 5 percent of steel imports into Canada in 2019 with U.S. producers totalling 43 per cent. Furthermore ArcelorMittal is a large investor in China including in steel production and other ventures.
Canada imports and exports steel mainly within the U.S.-controlled North American free trade zone, importing more steel than exporting within the area resulting in a steel trade deficit.
According to Global Steel Trade Monitor, a publication of the U.S. Department of Commerce: â The top 10 source countries for Canadaâ s steel imports represent 78 percent of the total steel import volume in 2019 at 5.4 million metric tons (mmt). The United States accounted for the largest share of Canadaâ s imports by source country with 43 percent (2.9 mmt), followed by South Korea at seven percent (0.5 mmt), China at five percent (0.4 mmt), and Japan at four percent (0.3 mmt).
CSPA likes to say â Canadaâ s steel producersâ but not one of its 13 member steel-producing companies is Canadian owned let alone controlled. The CSPA is opposed to building a self-reliant independent Canadian-controlled steel sector serving the needs of the Canadian economy and people as a major factor for independent control of the economy. Such an independent self-reliant steel industry would be able to trade internationally including with the U.S., Mexico, China and elsewhere globally for mutual benefit, cooperation and development. Trade for mutual benefit would not lead to trade wars and shooting wars that are propelled by the private interests of the oligarchs to defend and enlarge their global private property and empires.
ArcelorMittal and other oligarchs in the CSPA have a songbook from which they sing for every country where they operate. The songs are meant to demonize their competitors, seek public funds and favourable regulations from the governments, and ensure the steelworkers and other workers it hires as employees are constantly on the defensive and disoriented as to how to defend their rights and claims. The oligarchsâ aim is to fatten their own pocketbooks as much as possible from the value workers produce. The aim and control must stop. To change this direction requires steelworkers and their allies throughout the country organizing to lead the fight for a new direction towards an economy controlled by the people and serving their interests.