U.S. Steel to restart blast furnace, thanks to tariff
One steelmaker thinks that the forthcoming 25 percent tax on imported steel will boost business enough to reopen a mothballed blast furnace.
United States Steel Corp. announced Wednesday it would restart one of two blast furnaces at its plant in Granite City, Illinois. It credited President Donald Trump’s March 1 announcement that the U.S. would slap a 25 percent tax on foreign steel and a 10 percent duty on aluminum with making the move economically feasible. The plant was shut down in December 2015. Approximately 500 employees will be called back to work, the company said.
“Our Granite City Works facility and employees, as well as the surrounding community, have suffered too long from the unending waves of unfairly traded steel products that have flooded U.S. markets,” said U.S. Steel President and Chief Executive Officer David B. Burritt.
Burritt was at the White House when Trump announced the tariffs.
“The president’s strong leadership is needed to begin to level the playing field so companies like ours can compete, win and create jobs that support our employees and the communities in which we operate as well as strengthen our national and economic security,” Burritt said. “We will continue to support our customers with the high-quality products they have come to expect from U.S. Steel.”
The president’s decision to levy the tariffs has been criticized by many Republican members of Congress and was a major factor in the resignation Tuesday of chief economic adviser Gary Cohn, according to reports.
In the construction industry, the Air Conditioning Contractors of America; Air-Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute; and the National Association of Home Builders are among the groups that have spoken out against the tariffs.