Downstate US Steel plant to restart after tariff announcement

Drew Angerer  Getty Images

Drew Angerer Getty Images

U.S. Steel said it is reopening the plant because it anticipates the announced tariff will cause an increase in domestic demand for steel.

Trading partners around the world expressed dissatisfaction with President Donald Trump's steel and aluminum tariffs proposal, with many implicitly and explicitly indicating they would retaliate if the tariffs are imposed.

The move also could increase demand for taconite iron ore from the company's Minnesota mines.

U.S. Steel announced this week that it plans to restart a blast furnace and steelmaking facilities in IL as a result of President Trump's 25% steel tariff proposal last week.

U.S. Steel's Keetac operation in Keewatin had previously been supplying Granite City, and Keetac shut down in May 2015 as the steel furnaces slowed production.

The plant re-opened its steel-making facilities on the heels of Trump's announcement, asking the 500 employees to work in the previously shuttered steel-making facilities as soon as this month.

"This will absolutely lead to layoffs", Miller said, explaining that USA producers do not make the steel slabs he needs to supply sheet steel to customers like Caterpillar Inc CAT.N and automakers.

Union officials described imported steel from China as cheap and illegal, since it doesn't meet USA standards.

Both Granite City Works blast furnaces and its steelmaking facilities were idled in December 2015 and the plant's hot strip mill was idled in January 2016 in response to the massive decline in demand for USA -made steel at the time during a global excess of steel capacity and "unfairly traded imports", the company said. Between them, they have 5.3 million tons of capacity available. "We would likely see higher prices because of capacity constraints". "Together, we are committed to ensuring the steel industry remains a fundamental part of American manufacturing because American manufacturing is stronger with American-made steel".

U.S. Steel announced Wednesday it will restart a blast furnace next month in Granite City.

"This doesn't happen overnight", she said.

"We buy not only pipe but valves and things that are not manufactured in the United States", Armstrong said.

Steel suppliers like California Steel Industries Inc CAST.UL , which imports 1.5 million tons of steel slabs annually, argue that Trump's bid to save US steel jobs will cost them.

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