The announcement that Canada will require importers of steel products to specify the nation of origin of the raw steel components is “a major win for the steel industry” and will have the effect of reducing demand for imported goods, says Stelco executive chairman and ceo Alan Kestenbaum.

Canada is instructing importers to disclose the “country of melt and pour" when filling out customs declarations to the Canada Border Services Agency (see Kallanish 23 February). Global Affairs Canada will analyse the data and publish reports on findings. The new policy goes into effect in November 2024.

While reporting his company’s fourth-quarter earnings, Kestenbaum lauded the new policy and its likely benefit to domestic producers. He explains that the new requirement is patterned after similar “melted-and-poured” initiatives in the US and enhances some of the original intentions of the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), the regional trade pact that replaced Nafta.

“A lot of it is driven back to the agreements that were made as part of the USMCA a few years ago … that required auto parts producers to identify the origin of the steel to make sure that everything that goes into a North American-built vehicle, in order to qualify for certain credits, is melted and poured in North America,” Kestenbaum states.

Even without further regulations, the new reporting aspect can encourage the usage of domestically produced steel, the Stelco ceo argues.

“It's really, really good when it comes to reducing imports because it's inconvenient for our customers to have to worry about where their imports are coming from,” Kestenbaum explains. “It's much easier to run their business, saying, OK, well, a whole bunch of my customers require North American-poured steel. So why should I start keeping separate sets of my inventory?”

Further: “I believe we're going to have a very, very significant benefit from this. I can tell you that the customers in the US are already changing their behavior due to melted-and-poured requirements.”