Baytown Steel Manufacturer Denied Exemption From Tariffs

This will likely mean the company will not go forward with plans to build a second plant here


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A steel pipe manufacturer in Baytown, which received national exposure for an aggressive campaign to get the ears of the Trump administration, has been denied an exemption from new tariffs on foreign steel.

In order to avoid the tariffs on steel tube from its parent company in Turkey, Borusan Mannesmann CEO Joel Johnson got creative.

In addition to a formal exemption request to the U.S. Department of Commerce, he asked the workers at the Baytown plant to write postcards to President Donald Trump and other government officials.

Johnson said all the company needed was two years to realize its plan to build a second factory.

"We are giving President Trump what he wants, which is more domestic steel, more jobs and more investment and stopping imports, so we would stop importing from ourselves," Johnson said on Houston Matters. "But we need another factory to do that."

Johnson in part blamed competitors who objected to his company's exemption request.

But he said he will not give up, refile and turn up the pressure on the Trump administration.

The new tariffs are costing Borusan Mannesmann an estimated $25 million a year, according to the company.

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Florian Martin

Florian Martin

Business Reporter

Florian Martin is the News 88.7 business reporter and also covers criminal justice, guns and shootings.Florian's stories can frequently be heard on other public radio stations throughout Texas and on NPR nationwide. Some of them have earned him awards from Texas AP Broadcasters, the Houston Press Club, National Association of...

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