The tariff plan implemented by President Trump on steel and aluminum has caused much controversy. An Illinois steel company has re-opened an idle plant and added 500 American jobs.
U.S. Steel CEO David Burritt spoke with CNBC on Wednesday and made the announcement about adding the jobs. He said the decision happened as a result of the Trump tariff plans.
“We’re really excited to be able to tell our employees in the community in Granite City, Illinois, that we will be calling back 500 employees,” Burritt announced, noting the country is “finally doing the right thing for American workers.”
Burritt said the industry has been dealing with “unfairly traded steel” for “decades.”
Reopening the plant, which closed in December 2015, is expected to take about four months, the U.S. Steel executive said. He also praised Trump for his “courageous leadership” in deciding to introduce the tariffs, which have angered lawmakers on both sides of the aisle.
Nevertheless, Burritt said the new taxes mark the “beginning of a renaissance” for the steel industry:
“You’ve got to be able to make stuff in the United States. If you take away our ability to make things — to manufacture 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 yourselves, and you go by the way of Greece or maybe Puerto Rico.”
Gary Cohn, Trump’s chief economic adviser, left the White House this week as he strongly disagreed with the policies. Others, such as Wilbur Ross, have defended the tariffs.