We noted in this space back in February that Thyssen-Krupp, a global steelmaker (and good NAM member), was planning on expanding its US operation and was planning on building a $2.9 billion steel plant somewhere in the US. They had narrowed down the finalists to Louisiana and Alabama last we wrote on it.
Well yesterday they announced that the plant would be built in Alabama. They also announced that the investing would now be more like $3.7 billion, $800 million higher than the original estimate. This of course will be a huge shot in the arm to a state hard hit by Hurricane Katrina. Thyssen-Krupp estimates that almost 30,000 construction jobs will be granted by this gargantuan project. The plant will eventually employ 2700 people.
Last night, Lou Dobbs was ranting about the new trade deal, even though it will open markets to US-made goods. You would think a guy who spends so much time ranting about the perils of free trade wold at least have to acknowledge the enormous benefit that this country derives from free trade and foreign investment. A $3.7 billion investment is a huge story — one that debunks so many of the myths that the protectionists so love to perpetuate.
And so we say congratulations to the state of Alabama for winning a big one and say thanks to Thyssen-Krupp for its faith in the American economy, evidenced by a huge investment that will pay dividends for decades to come.
UPDATE (By Carter Wood, 9 a.m. Saturday): Just a few more links. Thyssen-Krupp has a webpage devoted to the new plant here.
Full coverage in the Mobile Register here. An addition to Pat’s observation about globalization:
The mill is designed to import and process crude steel slabs manufactured by ThyssenKrupp in Brazil. About 40 percent of its products will be shipped to automotive customers in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. The rest will be split among appliance and machinery manufacturers and the construction and utility industries.
Industry watchers say it is no secret why ThyssenKrupp wanted to locate its first U.S. plant in the South. The steel manufacturer is following one of its largest customer bases. About 40 percent of the steel produced would be used in the automotive industry.
Over the last 10 years, the automotive industry has invested more than $7 billion in Alabama. Mercedes-Benz, Honda and Hyundai have built assembly plants in the state, and International Diesel and Toyota have built engine plants. The rest of the plant’s steel products would be sent to manufacturers of appliances, precision machinery, engineered products and construction equipment. ThyssenKrupp has said the mill will mean 29,000 jobs during construction, and 2,700 jobs paying an average of $50,000 to $65,000 once the plant is operational in 2010.
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