American steelmakers are prepared to supply the steel pipe needed for domestic pipeline projects, US Steel CEO Mario Longhi said Thursday following a meeting with President Donald Trump at the White House.
"We've been making pipe in this country since the early stages of the past century in this country and the industry is certainly capable of producing it here," Longhi told CNBC.
Longhi was among a number of CEOs from US-based companies to participate in a working session and meet with Trump Thursday for a listening session on creating jobs in the manufacturing industry.
Related: Find more content about Trump's administration in our news and analysis feature.
In his first week in office, Trump signed a series of executive memorandums to revive the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipeline projects and has directed the US Commerce Department to make sure all future pipelines built in the US are constructed out of steel melted and finished in the US. Since the announcement, concerns have been raised that US producers may not have the capabilities to furnish the type of pipe needed on pipeline projects, but when pressed, Longhi said it's a non-issue for US steelmakers.
"The capability is there for us to make everything that is needed," he said, adding that includes pipes for extraction production and transmission. One of the biggest problems facing US steel producers in recent years, particularly in the pipe and tube markets, has been the high level of imports coming into the US, Longhi said.
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"With the significant amount of dumping that has been taking place we have lost the opportunity to have a fair playing field in order to compete, but the capability is certainly there," he said.
When asked if he supports a "full-fledged" trade war with China, Longhi reiterated that what is most needed is a level playing field.
"I don't consider it a trade war when you are trying to make sure that everybody plays by the same rules," he said.
Additionally, Longhi did not say whether he would support a border adjustment tax, but said that an analysis has to be conducted to determine the best course of action as the US is the only country that does not have a border adjustment tax.
Overall, Longhi said Thursday's meeting was an "open, honest, positive discussion."
"The administration recognizes the importance of manufacturing in the creation of good, sound jobs and its value in helping the economy grow," he said.
Asked if manufacturing jobs can indeed come back to the US, Longhi said: "It's totally realistic to bring back [manufacturing] jobs," adding there is a pipeline of projects that have been bogged down due to regulatory issues that are ready to go. A pro-business environment that creates growth of plus-3% per year would require significant new labor, Longhi said.
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