US Steel CEO David Burritt credited President Trump’s tariffs for prompting the reopening of an idled plant in Illinois.

“This feels like the beginning of a renaissance for us,” Burritt told CNBC Wednesday.

“We’re finally doing the right thing for American workers after decades of unfairly traded steel into the United States.”

The reopen will take four months, during which the plant will restart two blast furnaces and steelmaking facilities bringing 500 jobs back to the area.

“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 said.

In 2015 US Steel announced it would shutter the plant indefinitely.

A company spokeswoman at the time blamed “imports” and “unfair trade,” among other issues, as reasons for the closure.

“If you don’t have customers here to sell to and you can’t make money, you have to shut them down,” Burritt said.

The former Caterpillar CFO claimed US Steel has seen its market cap plummet in recent years, with the number of operational plants dropping from 15 to seven.

“Here we are working hard everyday trying to get the thing back on track and we finally get some good news because we got some courageous leadership in the administration,” Burritt said.

“Big, big thanks to Commerce Secretary [Wilbur] Ross and certainly President Trump for taking the leadership and righting some wrongs. It’s really important that we get this right, and now it’s finally happening.”

President Trump is expected to sign off on tariffs on steel and aluminum imports Thursday, as the media claims the decision will spark a trade war.

Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said at a White House press briefing Wednesday the Trump administration could offer deals to Canada and Mexico.

“We expect that the president will sign something by the end of the week,” Sanders said, adding “there are potential carve-outs for Mexico and Canada based on national security and possibly other countries as well based on that process.”

On Monday Trump reiterated his commitment to reworking the NAFTA agreement to get a better deal for the US, while adding, “To protect our country we must protect American Steel!”


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