What Trade War? India Steel Co. Invests $500 Million in US Steel Industry

As streiff wrote earlier today, President Donald Trump’s trade strategy, despite fears that it would ignite a trade war — particularly with Asian nations — may actually be working. Quoting the New York Times, streiff wrote:

In a statement published on Monday, the South Korean Trade Ministry said it had agreed to adhere to a quota of 2.68 million tons of steel exports to the United States a year, which it said was roughly equivalent to 70 percent of its annual average sent to the United States from 2015 to 2017. It also agreed to lower trade barriers to vehicles imported from the United States. Trump administration officials cited what they considered unfair barriers against American-made cars when they began last year to pressure South Korea to amend the trade pact.

In return, the Trade Ministry said, South Korea would be exempt from the steel tariffs.

Trump can add another $500 million to his trade wins as word broke Monday that India’s JSW Steel Ltd has decided to invest that amount into its existing U.S. steel operations by broadening their operations in Texas over several phases and culminating in 2020.

The JSW steel plant in Baytown, Texas, has reportedly been struggling for some time and the company plans to use $150 million of the $500 million investment to “improve and modernize its plant” there. The rest will go toward funding a new facility.

The company produces and sells carbon plates to the energy, petrochemicals, defense and other heavy equipment industries.

“Access to natural gas at extremely economical prices and the abundant availability of scrap steel in Texas make conditions very conducive for manufacturing through the Electric Arc Furnace Route,” said Parth Jindal, director of JSW USA and son of JSW group Chairman and Managing Director Sajjan Jindal.

Last week, India’s Trade Minister Suresh Prabhu discussed the possibility of striking one of Trump’s preferred bilateral agreements that would curb imports on steel with the U.S.

“The $500 million investment from JSW Steel to expand its operations in Texas shows what we can achieve when we work to be better every single day,” said Greg Abbott, Texas Governor. The investment, subject environmental protection approvals, facilitates expansion, and the funds will be used for backward integration, to create the first melt and manufacture and enhance capability of its contiguous plate and pipe facility.

Abbot has signed an agreement with the steel company which provides a $3.4 million grant to the company’s Texas unit.