BUSINESS

Rebar reboot? Tribunal holds inquiry into imposed tariffs hurting B.C. builders

04/27/2015 07:12 EDT | Updated 07/31/2015 08:59 EDT
VICTORIA - Canada's cemented position on rebar imports, the steel rods used by the construction industry to add strength to buildings, will be tested publicly this summer after complaints of rising costs by a British Columbia construction association.

The Canadian International Trade Tribunal imposed added duties and tariffs last year on rebar coming from China, North Korea and Turkey, saying the countries were dumping the product into Canada.

But B.C. builders complained that they were collateral damage in the dispute and the price of construction projects will jump because of the added costs.

The tribunal said Monday it has grounds to reconsider the anti-dumping duties and will hold a public-interest inquiry in Vancouver in July and will make a decision no later than mid-September.

"We're extremely pleased the tribunal recognized there is a strong public interest case to be made to exempt B.C. from national rebar tariffs," said Phil Hochstein, president of the Independent Contractors and Businesses Association of B.C.

"Canada is too big a country to have a one-size fits all tariff policy. Our prices would have been lower if these tariffs on Chinese rebar imports weren't in place."

He said B.C. construction companies sought business with Chinese rebar suppliers because Canada's rebar companies located in Ontario and Quebec were not adequately supplying B.C. construction sites.

B.C. International Trade Minister Teresa Wat said she's pleased the tribunal recognized that there's a public interest to go ahead with the inquiry over the duties.

Wat said the government and Hochstein's association feel a special regional exclusion for the province is warranted because of the unique market conditions.