Mr. Speaker, I rise tonight seeking answers to a question I originally asked last April regarding China's dumping of steel. In my riding of Essex, good-paying, high-skilled jobs at Atlas Tube rely on the Canadian government standing up to these unfair practices.
China is unfairly dumping steel at prices that undercut and hurt Canadian producers. Our steel industry, including its partners like the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, local chambers like the one in my community of Windsor/Essex, and the United Steelworkers, is urging the government to strengthen Canada's trade remedy rules. Sadly, we have only heard empty rhetoric from the Liberal government.
The government has started to discuss a potential free trade agreement with China, and this raises many concerns about how Canada plans to address China's shortfall on human rights, environmental rights, and labour rights, as well as its record on currency manipulation and, ultimately, the unfair trade practices of the kind I mentioned, such as steel dumping and over-production.
In other trade agreements China has insisted that its partners grant it market economy status, which will make it even harder for our steel producers to compete, and extradition treaties, which will force us to turn a blind eye to the numerous outstanding human rights violations.
When I originally asked my question, the Prime Minister responded by stating that he had already addressed the issue with the Chinese leadership. However, in the five months since I raised this issue in the House, nothing has changed.
As a member of the Standing Committee on International Trade, I asked that we study the Canadian steel industry's ability to compete internationally. Our report was tabled in the House of Commons last June, and we put forward many recommendations. While the NDP supports the report's conclusion and recommendations, we believe the report should have gone further in emphasizing the need to work in close partnership with the United States and the need for urgent action by the government to defend and grow Canada's steel industry. The majority of our recommendations asked the government to defend our domestic steel industry against the unfair steel dumping practices of countries like China.
In addition, as a member of the all-party parliamentary steel caucus, I travelled to Washington last June to discuss the significant risks to Canada's steel sector if Canada and the U.S.'s trade remedy systems diverge. If the U.S. government, through buy American policies or otherwise, imposes restrictions on steel imports or applies tariffs to Canadian steel as a result of the section 232 investigation, the federal government should urgently seek an exemption from these restrictions or tariffs on Canadian steel.
Furthermore, the government must actively work in close partnership with the U.S. to address global steel dumping and must demonstrate to the U.S. the importance of working together, not against one another, on this very critical issue.
President Trump's repeated rhetorical attacks on key Canadian sectors such as auto, dairy, steel and, most recently, aerospace are deeply worrisome for the hundreds of thousands of Canadians whose jobs depend on the strong, integrated Canada-U.S. relationship. Aside from these attacks, the U.S. has, of course, gone ahead with countervailing duties on Canadian softwood lumber exports and the 220% duty now levied on Bombardier. These duties will devastate communities, mills, and workers across Canada.
The federal government's response to this point has been extremely weak. Requests for assistance and support have been met with silence. The Liberals talk about progressive trade that benefits Canadians. Now it is time to walk the walk.
Canadians want fair trade that benefits all Canadians, not just a few at the top. They want a government that has a plan for protecting Canadian jobs. They cannot afford another government that believes that bending to the will of a larger, richer nation is the way to go.
I would really like to hear from the parliamentary secretary on these issues. Canadian Steel producers and workers in the industry deserve an assurance that the government will get a commitment from China that it will stop unfair steel dumping in our country.