Local steel workers relieved by lifted tariffs
Published Friday, May 17, 2019 7:18PM CST
Last Updated Friday, May 17, 2019 7:25PM CST
The announcement made on Friday morning that Canada and the United States have reached an agreement to lift steel and aluminum tariffs, has steel workers in Saskatchewan relieved.
“This is a tremendous decision and it really, really affects our bottom line,” Denis Litalien, senior manager of engineering in Regina, said to media on Friday. “For the last 11 months or so, our business has been severely affected by these tariffs and having them removed is just a tremendous opportunity for us to sell our products throughout North America.”
Evraz Steel employs about 1100 people in Regina. Over the past year, production is some Evraz plants has slowed down. Employees are hopeful that production will pick up with the tariffs lifted.
“A lot of our orders in 2018 were destined for the U.S. and all of those tons of pipe that went across the boarder – once the tariffs were applied - it applied to those products. So it had a very significant impact,” Litalien said.
Mike Day, the president of the United Steelworkers 5890 Regina, said this agreement between the neighbouring countries means a sense of job stability for workers in Saskatchewan.
“If we wouldn’t have gotten this sooner than later, we don’t know what would have happened here. We could only sustain what was going on in our 24 inch mill for so long with the orders that were happening,” Day said.
Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale also spoke in Regina on Friday. He said it was a long and hard battle between Canada and the U.S. but a full, clean tariff lift was finally achieved.
Goodale said the tariffs should be gone within 48 hours.