Published: Sat, March 10, 2018
Money | By Armando Alvarado

Downstate US Steel plant to restart after tariff announcement

Downstate US Steel plant to restart after tariff announcement

The announcement came a day before President Donald Trump's action to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum from all foreign countries with the exception of Mexico and Canada, the Chicago Tribune reported.

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.

U.S. Steel said it will need the additional steelmaking capacity to meet an expected increase in demand for its steel.

Burritt also praised Trump for recognizing steel imports as a national and economic security threat.

Granite City and an AK Steel Holding Corp AKS.N mill in Ashland, Kentucky, are the only two idle USA plants sufficiently well maintained to be brought back any time soon, industry analysts said.

Higher U.S. tariffs on imported steel will mean more jobs at some American steel mills but raise the risk of layoffs at others, industry executives said on Wednesday.

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U.S. Steel said it anticipates the tariff will result in an increased demand for domestic steel and that the company expects to rehire 500 employees within a few weeks, although it might take four months to reopen the plant.

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. "We appreciate and thank the USW leadership and membership for their passionate efforts around the Section 232 investigation as well as in support of the restart process at Granite City Works".

"We've had a lot of news that hasn't been good for so long", said Mike DeBruce, owner of the Park Grill, which backs up to the steel plant.

Burritt recently told CNBC that the Granite City plant has been inactive for two years due to trade practices which he believed inequitable.

The hot strip mill was restarted in February.

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