South Carolina steel plant reopened by UK industrialist, avoiding tariffs

British industrialist Sanjeev Gupta’s GFG Industrials on Monday reopened a shuttered South Carolina steel plant in a move that will allow his U.K.-based firm to circumvent the Trump administration’s 25% tariffs on steel imports.

Liberty Steel, a London-based company owned by Gupta’s group, held a relaunch ceremony at Georgetown Steel Mill on Monday. The mill originally closed in 2015 and was acquired by Liberty House in 2017, the Myrtle Beach Sun News reported.

Liberty Steel said the facility would employ about 125 workers at launch and more than 300 workers in the “medium term,” according to a press release. GFG Alliance has vowed to invest more than $5 billion in the U.S. within the next few years.

“This is a historic moment in the story of Liberty Steel and GFG,” Gupta said at the ceremony, according to a press release. “It marks our first step into the American market and is as much a milestone for us in the USA as the restart of Liberty Steel Newport after a similar shutdown period was in the UK. That triggered a cascade of major acquisitions, investments and turnaround successes for GFG in the UK. I very much hope and expect that a similar journey has started today for our family in the USA.”

With the mill in operation, the GFG-owned facility will be able to produce steel products on U.S. soil, avoiding the tariffs. President Donald Trump ordered the tariffs on China, the European Union, Mexico, Canada and others this year, arguing the charges were necessary to ensure national security.

U.K.-based firms export more than $470 million in steel to the U.S. each year, or roughly 7% of the country’s total output, according to U.K. Steel.

“This first investment is our vote of confidence in the future of metals and heavy industrial sector in the USA,” Gupta said. “GFG’s economic model globally has long-term sustainability at its core, based on the development of local resources, including educational and local community development, and the production of quality products for the domestic market.”