August 31, 2017 / 9:19 AM / 2 years ago

Germany's Salzgitter has no plans to close U.S. factories: CEO in Die Welt

Heinz Joerg Fuhrmann, CEO of Germany's traditional steelmaker Salzgitter AG talks at a symposium of steelmakers in Duesseldorf, Germany February 16, 2016. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - German steelmaker Salzgitter is not planning to close factories in the United States, where it is suffering from import duties that were slapped on some of its products, the group’s chief executive told a German newspaper.

In March, the U.S. Department of Commerce issued a final finding that European and Asian producers dumped certain carbon and alloy steel cut-to-length plate in the U.S. market, allowing it to impose duties ranging from 3.62 percent to 148 percent.

For Salzgitter, duties were set at 22.9 percent.

“In general, current politics in the United States are not an invitation for foreign investments. We would examine investments in the USA more closely now than a few years ago,” Heinz Joerg Fuhrmann told Die Welt in an interview.

“But what is clear already is that there will not be factory closures on our side,” he said.

Salzgitter, in which the state of Lower Saxony owns 26.5 percent, employs 1,411 staff, or 8.2 percent, of its core workforce in the America region. The area accounted for 12 percent of consolidated sales in 2016.

With peer Dillinger Huette, Salzgitter operates two U.S. plants that make tubes needed for pipelines in the oil and gas industry, mostly sourcing from Salzgitter’s German steel plants at prices Fuhrmann said were “in line with the market”.

Reporting by Christoph Steitz; Editing by Edmund Blair

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