President Donald Trump‘s tariffs will be “extraordinary” for business, Century Aluminum CEO Michael Bless told CNBC on Thursday.
The president signed tariffs on Thursday afternoon that slap a 25 percent levy on steel and 10 percent on aluminum. Canada and Mexico are exempt from the tariffs, which will take effect in 15 days. The U.S. will also give other nations the opportunity to justify why they shouldn’t be included.
Before the president released the final details, Bess told CNBC he expects Century Aluminum will be able to bring its Kentucky plant from 40 percent of capacity to 100 percent.
And he’s not buying critics’ arguments that the tariffs will start a trade war with other nations.
“The hysteria over this so-called trade war has reached frankly above a fevered pitch. We’re not exactly sure where the trade war is coming from,” Bless said.
Century Aluminum makes high purity aluminum, which is a national security issue, he said. However, the beverage industry, for example, uses mostly recycled aluminum.
“This plant at full production can make more than about 1.5 times the amount of high purity metal that our DOD and commercial aerospace sector needs,” he said.
“Today most of that metal is coming from places like the Persian Gulf and from Russia and a little bit from Canada. So we’ll be able to supply a good portion of that when this plant is up and running at full capacity.”