End of tariffs could spell boost to Windsor-Essex economy
Published Saturday, May 18, 2019 4:11PM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, May 21, 2019 9:05AM EDT
The end of year-long U.S. tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum could see a boost to the economy in Windsor-Essex.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced a deal had been reached with the Americans to remove the tariffs on Friday in Hamilton.
Industries tied to steel and aluminum, like auto and parts manufacturers, point to the $4.5-billion investment made by Fiat Chrysler in Detroit as a prime example of what could happen on this side of the border.
Others say Canada should have been more aggressive with the Americans.
“Canada I think, at the very beginning, was not taking it very seriously and we should have,” says Essex NDP MP Tracey Ramsey.
“We know we've lost over a thousand jobs. We've paid a billion dollars - or plus - in tariffs.”
The president of Windsor's Laval International, Jonathon Azzopardi, says getting rid of the tariffs is good news for manufacturers like his company.
However, he wonders the true cost to the region of what was largely seen as a negotiation tactic by the Americans.
“All that time we've lost projects. We've lost opportunities; we've been overlooked. We're not to the point where those opportunities are totally lost, but the ones that are lost we won't get back,” he says.
Azzopardi stresses Windsor is a heavy buyer of U.S steel and hopes the lifting of tariffs will give manufacutrers a new life and spur investment.
The deal ends what at the time Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland called “the strongest trade action Canada has taken in the post war era.
It's tied to an agreement that will restrict the dumping of cheap steel from countries like China and Russia.
Ramsey hopes this is a sign Canada and the U.S. can again work together on bigger concerns.
“We have significant challenges with China. We need to be working with the United States to work at that together more than having us divided and having these tariffs between our countries,” she says.
“So, you know I'm hopeful the conversation on China now will shift to, ‘How do we push against them together versus separately?'”