Cleveland-Cliffs to idle Weirton tinplate mill following unfavorable ITC ruling

 

Cleveland-Cliffs Inc. will idle, indefinitely, its tinplate production plant in Weirton, West Virginia in April. The decision to idle the Weirton plant is a direct result of the unanimous decision by the International Trade Commission (ITC) negating the implementation of anti-dumping and countervailing duties on tin mill products calculated by the Department of Commerce. A WARN notice was issued Feb. 15 to about 900 impacted employees. These employees will be provided relocation opportunities to work at other Cliffs’ facilities and/or receive severance packages.

In January 2023, Cleveland-Cliffs and co-petitioners the United Steelworkers (USW) filed antidumping and countervailing duty petitions related to unfairly traded tin and chromium coated sheet steel products. After finding evidence of dumping and subsidization, on Jan. 5, 2024, Commerce announced duties on Canada, China, Germany and South Korea. However, on Feb. 6, the ITC unanimously rejected these tariffs.

Lourenco Goncalves, Cleveland-Cliffs' chairman, president and CEO, stated, "We worked very closely with our partners at the USW on this solution to save Weirton, and together fought tirelessly for its survival. In what was our final effort to maintain tinplate production here in America, we proved that we are forced to operate on an uneven playing field, and that the deck was stacked in favor of the importers."

Despite Commerce officials finding evidence of dumping and subsidization from respondent countries, the ITC "shockingly ruled against imposition of tariffs, keeping the uneven playing field in place and making it impossible for us to viably produce tinplate,” said Goncalves.


He also denounced what he called “the greed" of tin can makers and consumer groups "who irrationally fought against American jobs and a domestic-based food supply chain."

He also noted that Weirton recently concluded a successful run of drawn and ironed material that tested perfectly with zero defects. "This test proves that Weirton and its workers are able to manufacture all the products the market demands." The ITC’s decision, he continued, "is a travesty" for middle-class American workers and U.S. food supply chains.

The company and the union will continue to work with members of Congress "to improve the trade laws so that the American industry and our workers are not left behind.”