Steel Producers, Farmers Await Word on Tariffs

NLMK Chief Calls for Peaceful Resolution to War in Ukraine

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Vladimir Lisin, the board chairman of the Russian steel and mining conglomerate NLMK Group, says he feels compassion toward the victims of the conflict in Ukraine and called for a peaceful resolution to the conflict.

“I would like to begin by expressing my deepest compassion to all the victims of the armed conflict in Ukraine, the families and relatives of those who died,” Lisin wrote in a letter to colleagues posted on the business social media site LinkedIn Monday.  

“Lost lives are always a huge tragedy that is impossible to justify.”

NLMK is the parent of NLMK Pennsylvania, which operates a steel mill in Farrell, Pa., and a coating mill in Sharon, Pa.  The factory is Farrell’s largest employer.

It’s unclear to what extent international economic sanctions against Russia in response to its invasion of Ukraine would impact NLMK’s Mercer County operations. The Pennsylvania division declined to comment when first contacted more than a week ago after Russia launched its invasion.

“I am convinced that peaceful diplomatic conflict resolution is always preferable to the use of force,” Lisin said in his letter. “NLMK is an international company. We operate production facilities in three continents and strongly believe in a dialogue between countries and cultures.

“Together with all my colleagues on the board of directors, we are truly hoping that this conflict is resolved soon,” he said.

Still, the Russian oligarch emphasized that the situation is challenging.

“In the context of these events, our company is facing serious changes in its operating environment,” he said.

“The situation continues to evolve rapidly. All together, we have to adapt our business to the new context.”

On Tuesday, President Joe Biden announced that the United States would ban imports of oil and natural gas from Russia. These measures are in addition to crippling economic sanctions the international community levied against Russia in the wake of the invasion.

Lisin said it is critical that NLMK continue to honor its commitments to clients, maintain jobs and provide financial support to our employees.  He also expressed the desire to “enhance financing for social programmes in the regions where we operate, and to help those in need. We are developing a package of support measures for our employees.”

The Mercer County plants process imported steel billets into coil, then ships the steel to customers in the United States.

In 2018, NLMK’s business was hit hard as a result of punitive tariffs brought on by the Trump Administration that raised the costs of imported steel billets. Although its appeal for an exemption was denied, an international trade court ruled that some of those tariffs were unjustified and ordered the federal government to compensate NLMK for its losses.

In November 2020, the government awarded NLMK’s Pennsylvania and Indiana operations a $97 million refund in compliance with the order.

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.