Trump tariffs a big plus for business: US Steel CEO

President Trump’s tariffs on steel and aluminum have been beneficial for American metal producers, according to U.S. Steel CEO David Burritt.

“It’s taken this courageous president with a lot of support from a lot of people to do the right thing, get us a level playing field so that we can have fairer trade and it’s really been been a big plus for us,” Burritt said during an exclusive interview with FOX Business’ Connell McShane on Thursday.

The Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, steel company has added 800 jobs and hired 400 people since the White House’s 25 percent import tax on steel was implemented this spring.

“But you see across the whole country, the number of blue-collar jobs that have increased—I think it’s the best.” Burritt said. “We're hiring all the time.”

The Trump administration's willingness to impose tariffs is perceived by some as a hard-bargaining negotiation tactic designed to push China towards a trade deal that benefits the U.S.

“Well we don't see it as negotiating tactic. We actually see these tariffs as being enduring for the foreseeable future,” Burritt said.

U.S. steel prices have climbed sharply since the Trump administration’s announcement that it was imposing tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from China. Companies that are buying American-made steel say that price increases are forcing them to pass along that cost onto consumers or have a lower profit margin resulting into a decline in economic growth.

“We appreciate that prices to our customers have gone up, we understand that, but if you look at the total increase in that price, it’s is really not substantial,” Burritt said.

Burritt added that the primary reason for moving forward with tariffs is a matter of securing the nation.

“This is vital to national security. If you don't have steel, you don't have a country,” he said.