The top U.S. steelmaker is set to build a new state-of-the-art steel plate mill in the American Midwest thanks to President Trump’s 25 percent tariff on imported steel.
Nucor is investing $1.3 billion in the new steel plate mill, which is set to create about 400 full-time American jobs and is expected to be fully operational by 2022. Currently, Nucor executives say a number of locations in the Midwest are being scouted for the project.
“It will be located right in the Midwest which is the heart of the plate-consuming market of the United States, and by the way, the Midwest is also a very scrap rich area, so that will help us also,” Nucor CEO John Ferriola told CNBC’s Jim Cramer.
“We’re very excited about this. This will be the most modern, state of the art mill in the United States,” Ferriola said. “It will have technological capabilities that will allow us to produce 97 percent of the type of plate that is consumed in the United States today.”
Trump’s 25 percent protective tariffs on steel imports were designed to protect American jobs and U.S. industry, a goal that Ferriola said has been achieved, crediting the tariffs for his company’s new steel mill expansion.
Ferriola said Nucor would have “absolutely” hesitated to build such a steel mill if the tariffs on steel imports had not been implemented to protect their industry from cheap, foreign steel. He said:
When you look at the amount of plate that was being dumped into this country three to four years ago, it would really cause us to hesitate before making such a large investment. But given what’s happened with the tariffs, and the leveling of the playing field, we are confident … that if we had a level playing field, we would compete successfully against any company or country in the rest of the world. Getting this level playing field has enabled us to make this investment, create these additional jobs.
Nucor is also looking to build an additional two “mini-mills” in the U.S. that produce steel rebar thanks to the tariffs.
The announcement comes as Republic Steel is set to reopen their idled steel mill in Lorain, Ohio, with 60 employees being initially hired to restart production, as Breitbart News reported. The steel mill had suffered mass layoffs and closed production down due to years of unfair foreign competition through free trade.
Free trade has cost at least a million American workers their manufacturing jobs in the Midwest since 1994. U.S. free trade with Canada, Mexico, and China has eliminated more than 270,000 American jobs in Illinois alone.
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.