Politics

Lawmakers Urge Tariff Exclusions for NLMK USA

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., and U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly, R-16 Pa., are urging U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross to give swift consideration to petitions filed a year ago by NLMK USA that requested exclusions from the Trump administration’s tariff policy.

“We write today to urge you to consider and issue decisions on the Section 232 exclusion petitions filed by NLMK USA,” the lawmakers wrote March 21. NLMK filed the petitions on March 23, 2018, nearly a full year ago. The petitions were accepted on April 12 and 13, 2018.

“This continued delay has cost the company $106.7 million in tariffs since March 2018,” the letter said, a number that “continues to rise with each month.”

NLMK is a steelmaker based in Russia that operates mills in Pennsylvania and Indiana, and produces steel from 20- to 25-ton slabs that are shipped from overseas to the Farrell plant. These slabs are available in limited quantities from domestic producers and the imported material is used strictly as feedstock for the mill.

Under current policy, these slabs are subject to a 25% tariff, which increases the cost of imported feedstock to the Farrell operations.

As a result of uncertainty in the market and slab supplies, NLMK has placed $600 million of new investments in the United States on hold, including a $100 million investment into the Farrell works, the letter said.

Also at risk are 1,169 workers employed at NLMK’s U.S. mills and another 7,945 indirect jobs related to the company’s steel operations. About 700 are employed in the Farrell mill, which was once the core of the Sharon Steel Corp.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.