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ArcelorMittal restates $1 bil investment in Mexico despite looming US tariffs

Sao Paulo — Integrated steelmaker ArcelorMittal restated its plan to invest $1 billion in its Mexican operations after US President Donald Trump said he would put in place Section 232 tariffs of 25% on steel imports from other countries.

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Investments, expected over the next three years, will be directed toward building a new hot strip mill at its Lazaro Cardenas unit and maintaining existing facilities.

ArcelorMittal's spokesman in Mexico, Ricardo Bussey, confirmed in a statement late Friday that the investment will not be changed and estimated steel output for the unit in Mexico will be 4 million mt in 2018.

"In this context, we will continue working in the same way," said Bussey, the director of corporate affairs at ArcelorMittal Mexico.

According to Bussey, 80% of the steel the company produces in Mexico is destined for the local market, while the remaining 20% is exported to the US, Canada and other markets.

When the investment program is complete, ArcelorMittal Mexico production would be 5.3 million mt/year, with the proportion of finished steel for the domestic Mexican market significantly expanded.

Flat-rolled steel production would total 2.5 million mt, long steel would total 1.8 million mt, and 1 million mt would be made up of semi-finished slabs.

ArcelorMittal operates eight sites that produce flats across the US, Canada, Mexico and Brazil, and 15 sites across Europe. Its long carbon business has 15 sites in the Americas and 17 integrated and mini-mill facilities in nine European countries.

While the company has production capacity of 114 million mt/year, it has been some time since it breached the 100 million mt/year mark.

--Guilherme Baida,
--Edited by Valarie Jackson,