PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — A locally-based specialty steel and metals company may close a plant in Beaver County due to the consequences of President Donald Trump’s steel tariffs.
Whenever he’s in Pittsburgh, President Trump says he’s turned around the steel industry, as he said to KDKA money & politics editor Jon Delano last October.
“The greatest steel place in the world and we’re bringing that back, and a lot of other things are happening in Pittsburgh,” said President Trump. “We’re very proud of it.”
One steel plant that came back is the Allegheny Technologies Inc. facility in Midland, Beaver County, once closed and now reopened
“There was no place to make money in Midland, so we ended up closing the plant,” Bob Wetherbee, ATI’s president and CEO, told KDKA’s Jon Delano.
“As President Trump came to the fore and became the next president of the United States, we thought now is the time to aggressively restart that,” Wetherbee said.
The steel tariffs have had a side effect, driving up the cost of some raw slabs imported from Indonesia, says Wetherbee.
“We’ve paid close to $40 million in tariffs,” Wetherbee said.
The company says the Beaver County facility employs 100 people directly and 200 people indirectly.
The company says they may all lose their jobs if this place closes unless the president gives the company an exemption to the tariff rules.
ATI says the three domestic suppliers of the raw materials are overpriced, so it needs an exclusion to this particular tariff.
“The challenge for us in Midland is by paying the tariff or buying domestically. We’ll continue to lose money in that plant and end up closing it,” added Wetherbee.
The Commerce Department rejected the exclusion once, but the company has applied again.
This time, ATI is asking members of Congress to get President Trump to intervene.
“I don’t believe it’s President Trump’s fault,” Wetherbee said. “The opportunity here is to make sure the Commerce Department process is well understood.”