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ATI seeks tariff exemption for joint venture with Chinese steel maker

| Tuesday, March 27, 2018, 12:03 p.m.
Allegheny Technologies Inc.'s Hot-Rolling and Processing Facility in Harrison.
Allegheny Technologies Inc.
Allegheny Technologies Inc.'s Hot-Rolling and Processing Facility in Harrison.

Allegheny Technologies Inc. hopes that its joint venture with a Chinese firm can be exempted from 25 percent steel tariffs that President Trump recently announced.

The Downtown-based specialty materials maker said Tuesday that a partnership with the Tsingshan Group, which produces stainless steel slabs in Indonesia, will create up to 100 manufacturing jobs in Western Pennsylvania and support other businesses in the United States.

Once imported, the slabs will be sent to Harrison, where ATI operates a hot-rolling and processing facility.

There, slabs will be rolled into coils before being sent to its plant in Midland, Beaver County, where coils will be made into stainless steel sheets. The company said it's the only facility in the nation that uses an automated process to reduce finishing time from weeks to minutes.

The Midland facility was idled in February 2016 and closed in October 2016 “due in part to dumped and subsidized stainless imports from China,” ATI said.

About 260 employees lost their jobs.

Trump on March 8 authorized tariffs to tack 25 percent onto the price of steel coming into the United States from certain countries, including China. The president said steel dumping was one reason for considering tariffs.

The United States is the world's largest steel importer, bringing in about 34.6 million metric tons in 2017, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Canada is the largest steel exporter to the United States, representing 17 percent in 2017, while China represents just 2 percent, the department said.

The tariffs exempt steel imports from Canada.

ATI said Commerce officials will take 90 days to review the company's request.

The joint venture will move forward as the tariff exemption request is considered, the company said.

Matthew Medsger is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-226-4675, mmedsger@tribweb.com or via Twitter @matthew_medsger.

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