White House denies tariffs a factor in Louisiana steel plant closure

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(AP)

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — President Donald Trump’s trade adviser says tariffs did not play a role in the surprising closure of a steel plant last week.

In a statement Sunday, Assistant to the President for Trade and Manufacturing Policy Peter Navarro said there are no tariffs on recycled scrap.

Last Monday the company announced it was shuttering its LaPlace facility and laying off nearly 400 workers.

Gov. John Bel Edwards said the company uses recycled scrap metal that is “largely imported” and “particularly vulnerable to tariffs.”

The company said “unforeseen circumstances and the inability to secure necessary capital” forced the closure. It also filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

Navarro says Edwards “mistakenly” blamed the closure on Trump’s tariffs and called it a “shamelessly partisan attack.”

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