December 19, 2018 / 8:54 PM / 6 months ago

Canada expands steel, aluminum tariff exemptions

TORONTO, Dec 19 (Reuters) - Canada said on Wednesday it will exclude some imported steel and aluminum from its newest import tariffs and quotas following a request from the construction industry in British Columbia, which depends on imported metal.

The government also said it would give additional relief to some companies that have contractual obligations. In Canada, automakers frequently buy U.S. steel under contract, import and distribute it to their Canadian suppliers as well as their own plants, but it was not immediately clear which companies would be affected.

In November, British Columbia construction industry leaders asked the government to exempt rebar, steel bars used to reinforce concrete, from new steel quotas and tariffs announced in October.

Canada also said on Wednesday it would give relief for steel product imports that were in transit before Oct. 25, as requested by the construction industry.

In October, the government announced quotas and tariffs on seven categories of steel imported from most countries outside the United States.

The measures were meant to reassure U.S. officials that cheap metal would not leak across the border if U.S. tariffs were lifted, and ensure that steel shut out of the U.S. market did not harm Canadian steel mills owned by Stelco Holdings , ArcelorMittal Dofasco and others.

They followed Canadian tariffs on U.S. imports of steel and aluminum imposed on July 1, 2018, in retaliation for U.S. President Donald Trump's tariffs. (Reporting by Susan Taylor; Editing by Sandra Maler)

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