This Morning in Metals: U.S. Steel to Reopen Illinois Steelmaking Facilities After Tariffs Announcement

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This morning in metals news, Pittsburgh-based U.S. Steel announced it plans to restart a blast furnace facility in Illinois, Trump talks tough to E.U. and Chile’s trade surplus is powered by strong copper exports.

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U.S. Steel to Restart Illinois Operations

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

President and CEO David Burritt praised the tariffs proposal.

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,” Burritt said. “The Section 232 action announced by President Trump last week recognizes the significant threat steel imports pose to our national and economic security. 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. We will continue to support our customers with the high-quality products they have come to expect from U. S. Steel.”

According to a U.S. Steel release announcing the decision, the company plans on calling back approximately 500 employees to its Granite City Works, beginning this month, in a process that could take up to four months.

Trump Criticizes E.U. as Tariff Tension Rises

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 European Union is among the trading partners making noise about retaliation, making reference to placing duties on products like Kentucky bourbon and American cheese.

The tension grew this week, as Trump called out the E.U., saying it has been almost “impossible” to do business with, according to the Financial Times.

Chile Exports Heat Up, Lifting Trade Surplus

The Chilean economy is experiencing a trade surplus, with copper exports being a major contributor, according to a Reuters report.

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Chile had a $1.25 billion trade surplus in February according to the report, good for the South American nation’s largest surplus in four years.

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