Steel Mills

NLMK Pennsylvania: "Poster Child for Tariffs"

Written by Sandy Williams

NLMK Pennsylvania says it is the “poster child for tariffs,” paying more than $160 million in duties for the steel slabs it utilizes at its operations.

“I can’t imagine anybody paying more money in tariffs than we have,’’ said Bob Miller, NLMK Pennsylvania president in a recent comment to the Sharon Herald.

NLMK Pennsylvania relies on slabs from its Russian parent company to roll into coils. Miller said that NLMK requested tariff exemption soon after the Section 232 measures were initiated. NLMK USA operations, which include NLMK Pennsylvania, NLMK Indiana and Sharon Coatings, use more than 200,000 tons of slab per month. So far it has not received a ruling from the Commerce Department.

The filing was contested by U.S. steel manufacturers who claim that there is sufficient slab availability in the U.S. market to fill NLMK’s needs and that the company has requested exemption for more steel than it requires. Miller disagrees, saying that it is difficult-to-impossible to buy American-made slabs because the production is not available to NLMK.

JSW Steel and North Star Bluescope are currently considering new EAFs that would add about 1.8 million tons of slab to the market, but perhaps not in time to help NLMK USA.

If Commerce issues a favorable and retroactive ruling for NLMK, it would recoup the tariffs that have already been paid.

Miller said that because of the extra financial burden, a $600 million upgrade for the Pennsylvania operations has been put on hold, further impacting the company’s competitiveness in the U.S.

Part of the upgrade included the installation of a walking beam reheat furnace to improve efficiency and costs.

“It solidifies our future in Farrell,’’ he told the Sharon Herald. “This is a very important project for our business.’’


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