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'Transitory' US tariffs not having much market impact: Universal Stainless CEO

http://www.chemnet.com   Sep 14,2018 S&P Global Platts
Louisville, Kentucky — The current tariff battle between the US and China is "transitory" in nature and not having much impact on markets, Universal Stainless & Alloy Products' top executive said Thursday.

Dennis Oates, CEO of the Bridgeville, Pennsylvania-based specialty and alloy steelmaker, told the CL King & Associates Best Ideas Conference 2018 in New York the tariffs are, however, causing market uncertainty.
"A majority of our customers would say the tariffs are a temporary phenomenon, something used as a negotiating tactic so everybody knows the US is serious about improving its trade flows," he said.

There have been "some small positives," he said, since the Trump administration, citing national security, imposed tariffs of 25% and 10% on imported steel and aluminum, respectively.

Universal Stainless has "picked up some alloys [sales] from foreign-owned companies where we didn't sell before," he said, adding: "There are some opportunities for us to capture some market share, but it's not dramatic."

Overall, Oates said Universal Stainless' business is strong, "fueled by fundamental demand, which is not a play on tariffs."

Aerospace accounts for about 60% of the company's sales, with power generation, oil and natural gas and heavy equipment essentially represent the remainder.

Universal Stainless is "starting to see defense-type applications" pick up in the aerospace market, he said.

Although Oates did not mention it, bargaining continues this week between the company and the United Steelworkers on behalf of 236 unionized workers in Bridgeville.

According to James Watt, a USW staff representative participating in the talks, a tentative agreement has not yet been reached.
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