CBSA launches investigation into unfair silicon metal pricing

Quebec Silicon complaint also includes claims of subsidies; several countries involved.

OTTAWA — The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) is investigating possible unfair pricing of silicon metal originating or exported from several countries following a complaint from a Quebec manufacturer.

Countries being investigated for selling at unfair prices in Canada are Brazil, Kazakhstan, Laos, Malaysia, Norway and Thailand. The CBSA is also investigating whether or not the silicon is subsidized by Brazil, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Norway and Thailand.

Silicon metal is used by primary and secondary aluminum producers as an alloying agent and by the chemical industry to produce a family of chemicals known as silicones.

The complaint was filed by Quebec Silicon, a subsidiary of majority owner Globe Specialty Metals Inc. and its joint venture partner Dow Corning Corp. The company produces 47,000 tonnes of chemical, solar and electronics grades of silicon annually at its plant in Becancour, Que.

These products are used in the manufacture of consumer and industrial end products, including silicone sealants, pigments, cosmetics, semiconductors, and fiber optic cables.

Quebec Silicon is claiming price undercutting is costing it revenue and lost market share, which is resulting in reduced production and employment.

The Canadian International Trade Tribunal (CITT) will begin a preliminary inquiry to determine whether the imports are harming the Canadian producers and will issue a decision by April 21. CBSA will conduct a concurrent investigation into whether the imports are being sold in Canada at unfair and/or subsidized prices, and will make preliminary decisions by May 23.

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