Tax & Trade Blog
Canada Bans Aluminium and Steel Imports from Russia
On Friday, March 10, 2023, the Canadian government announced it is banning the import of certain aluminium and steel products from Russia. This comes as a sanction against Russia for its actions in Ukraine, and is coordinated with the US’s 200% tariff on aluminum products that came into effect the same day.
The Special Economic Measures Act (S.C. 1992, c. 17; “SEMA”) allows the Canadian government to take “economic measures” against foreign states in cases of “gross and systematic” human rights violations, serious international crises resulting from a “grave breach of international peace and security”, or when Canada is called upon to do so by certain international organizations (SEMA 4). Because these measures can be made through a Regulation or an Order under the SEMA, it allows for faster action than would otherwise be possible through statute.
Canada has imposed a number of economic sanctions against Russia under the SEMA, through the Special Economic Measures (Russia) Regulations (SOR/2014-58; the “Regulations”), which first came into force in 2014.
Sanctions Imposed on Russia
Most recently, the Canadian government has taken a stance against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, calling it “a grave breach of international peace and security that has resulted in a serious international crisis”. Canada has responded in part by imposing numerous economic sanctions under the SEMA since February 2022.
Most recently, on March 10, 2023, the Regulations were amended (SOR/2023-46) to effect a prohibition on all imports of Russian aluminum products and many Russian iron and steel products. The Canadian government reports that this measure was taken to “[ensure] Putin cannot pay for his war by selling aluminum and steel in Canada”.
The full list of prohibited products is listed in Schedule 11 of the Regulations.
Canada imported $45 million of aluminum and $213 million of steel products from Russia in 2021 – this new import prohibition could mean supply chain changes for certain Canadian importers.