FRANKFURT Feb 16 Austrian steelmaker
Voestalpine has set up a "Taskforce USA" to monitor
the effects of President Donald Trump's decisions on its
business, which includes a new $1 billion sponge-iron plant in
The plant in Corpus Christi, Texas, is the largest
investment in the United States by an Austrian company.
Voestalpine picked the United States mainly for its access to
The team consists of eight members representing the
company's four divisions, equally split between Austria and the
United States, and includes legal, treasury and international
trade experts, Chief Executive Wolfgang Eder said.
"Developments for the next six, 12 or 24 months are very
hard to estimate," he told reporters in Frankfurt.
The team members, who are still doing their regular jobs,
hold phone conferences and give concise briefings to management,
Voestalpine generated annual revenue of about 1.2 billion
euros ($1.3 billion) in the NAFTA free trade area of the United
States, Mexico and Canada in its 2015/16 business year and aims
to reach 3 billion euros by 2020. North America currently
accounts for around 11 percent of total sales.
Trump has said he wants to renegotiate NAFTA and has
proposed a border tax on imports from Mexico, aiming to attract
manufacturing jobs from there to the United States.
Eder said about a third of Voestalpine's production in
Mexico, much of which is for international carmakers' plants
there, is destined for the United States.
Voestalpine's total exports to the United States are about
300 million euros a year. It also sends about a third of the
sponge iron it produces in Texas back to Austria as raw material
for its high-end steel products.
"We have invested in North America, just as the new
president wants," Eder said. "We are deeply convinced it was the
right decision ... We invest for the long term, not for the term
of one president."
Separately, the European steelmakers' trade group said on
Thursday Iranian imports had emerged as the latest threat to
their business, with imports from the country up by nearly eight
times between 2013 and 2016.
($1 = 0.9373 euros)
(Reporting by Georgina Prodhan; Editing by Mark Potter)