CEO: I Support Trump’s Tariffs But My Firm Deserves An Exemption From Them

Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead/Public Domain


Allegheny Technologies CEO Robert Wetherbee supports Trump's steel tariffs but says his steel company deserves a pass.

The president and CEO of Allegheny Technologies in on board with President Donald Trump’s tariff-happy trade policy, but he believes that his company deserves to be spared the pain they are causing.

Robert S. Wetherbee wrote in an op-ed for The Wall Street Journal that Trump’s economic policies allowed him to reopen an idled steel plant in Pennsylvania — and for that he is grateful.

But “tariffs are blunt instruments,” Wetherbee wrote, and have also caused harm, including to his own company. The plant he reopened in Midland, Pennsylvania, last year “employs 100 people directly and another 200 indirectly in this vital swing state,” the executive said, and it “specializes in cold-rolling 60-inch stainless-steel sheet used in everything from kitchen appliances to car parts.”

The problem? Wetherbee said Trump’s “tariffs have made our starting material—nickel-bearing stainless steel slabs, which must be imported from Indonesia—unreasonably expensive,” adding that buying American-made materials in this case is not possible.

As a result, his newly reopened plant is “hemorrhaging money,” and Wetherbee may be forced to close shop again within months, costing hundreds of jobs.

The CEO ended his story with a plea for the Trump administration to open the door for more exemptions.

“Mr. President, we implore you: Save our jobs.”

Read the full op-ed.


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