An Ohio steel mill, forced into closure by free trade and imports, is reopening this year thanks to President Donald Trump’s 25 percent tariff on foreign steel imports.
Republic Steel executives told Cleveland.com that the rolling steel mill is set to reopen in Lorain, Ohio, with 60 employees being initially hired to restart production.
“Over 60 employees have been hired and completed training, and the mill has undergone a complete refurbishment,” executives said in a statement. “We have successfully run internal production trials, and now anticipate receiving sufficient orders to support moving to a production mode in the 2nd Quarter of this year.”
The United Steelworkers union, which represents the steel mill’s laid off American steelworkers, said they are looking forward to working with Republic Steel to reopen the facility, but officials said they have to be officially informed by the company of the reopening.
“We have reached out to company representatives, and are waiting for their response,” the union’s executives told Cleveland.com. “At this time, none of our members have been recalled from lay-off. The USW is committed to work with Republic Steel to facilitate the startup and return our members to work as soon as possible.”
Lorain, Ohio, was devastated in 2016 when Republic Steel announced it was laying off about 200 American steelworkers and idling its steel mill due to free trade and foreign dumping of steel in the U.S.
The American steel jobs were subsequently offshored to South Korea, the Phillippines, and Taiwan, where domestic workers are paid much less than U.S. workers. Republic Steel, due to free trade, offshored close to 450 American steel jobs between 2012 and 2015 to countries like Spain and Canada.
Free trade has cost more than 276,000 American workers their manufacturing jobs in Ohio since 1994. U.S. free trade with Mexico had eliminated nearly 35,000 jobs in Ohio by 2010, leaving those American workers displaced, and about 121,400 jobs in Ohio were eliminated due to free trade with China by 2017.
As trade deficits have soared nearly 600 percent since the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was enacted, close to five million American manufacturing jobs were eliminated from the U.S. economy, encompassing the net shuttering of nearly 50,000 U.S. manufacturing facilities.
John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter at @JxhnBinder.