It is a pleasure to be here today to discuss Bill C-101, An Act to Amend the Customs Tariff and the Canadian International Trade Tribunal Act.
Before I provide a description of the amendments proposed in the bill, it is relevant to remind you of the current context that has led to the bill.
Global safeguards are trade measures that may be imposed under World Trade Organization rules and Canadian law where there is evidence that an increase in fairly traded imports has caused, or is threatening to cause, serious injury to domestic producers. In October 2018 the government imposed provisional safeguards for a period of 200 days on imports of seven steel product categories: heavy plate, concrete reinforcing bar, energy tubular products, hot-rolled sheet, pre-painted steel, stainless steel wire, and wire rod.
In accordance with Canadian law, the government also asked the Canadian International Trade Tribunal, the CITT, to inquire into whether final safeguards that could last up to three years on these products were warranted. At the beginning of April, the CITT shared its findings that final safeguards were warranted on imports of heavy plate and stainless steel wire. As a result, the provisional safeguards on the remaining five product categories were terminated on April 29.
The customs tariff currently prevents the reimposition of safeguard measures on products that were subject to previous safeguards for a period of two years following their last imposition. As such, for the five products for which provisional safeguards expired on April 29, safeguards may not be imposed on them until April 2021. The amendments being proposed in Bill C-101 would temporarily remove the two-year moratorium on the imposition of safeguards for products that were recently subject to such measures.
As well, consequential amendments are being proposed to the Canadian International Trade Tribunal Act. These amendments are intended to be temporary. That's why they've been structured as follows.
First, the provisions setting out the prohibition on further safeguards in the customs tariff would be repealed upon royal assent. That's in subclause 1(1) of the bill. A consequential amendment is also made to the CITT Act to remove those references to these provisions during the period of time during which they are repealed. That's in subclause 2(1) of the bill.
Second, the same provisions that are being repealed would be reinserted two years after royal assent on both the customs tariff and in the CITT Act. These are in subclauses 1(2) and 2(2). The coming-into-force clause, which respected the two-year period after which it would be reinserted, is in the coming-into-force provision of the bill.
The amendments would give the government the flexibility, should the need arise during the two-year period, to respond quickly and appropriately by imposing safeguards where a substantiated surge of fairly traded imports harms, or could harm, Canadian producers and workers. The conditions for the application of safeguards, as provided for under Canadian law, remain unchanged, and would still need to be met in order for any further safeguards to be put in place.
That concludes our presentation. We'd be happy to take any questions you might have.