President Trump’s plan to levy a 25% tariff on steel and a 10% tariff on aluminum is contentious in Washington—but it’s bringing back at least some jobs to the Midwest.
US Steel CEO David Burritt told CNBC on Wednesday that his company will reopen part of their steel plant in Granite City, Illinois, which had closed two years ago.
Over the next four months, the company will restart two steel blast furnaces, and bring 500 of their employees back to work.
Burritt claims that the blast furnaces, which were shut off in December 2015, were closed because of unfair trade practices—mainly, countries like China “dumping” cheap steel in the United States in order to put American firms out of business.
“This feels like the beginning of a renaissance for us,” said Burritt. “It’s really important that we get this right, and now it’s finally happening.”
He added, “You’ve got to be able to make stuff in the United States. If you take away our ability to make things, you don’t really have a society. Just think about the way the U.K. used to have a big manufacturing base. It went away. If you don’t make stuff, you can’t have a strong country. You can’t protect yourself and you go by the way of Greece or maybe Puerto Rico.”
Burritt also thanked Trump for his “courageous leadership” on the economy.