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Trump's tariffs allow us to invest $100 million and hire hundreds: Century Aluminum CEO

Michelle Fox

President Donald Trump's new steel and aluminum tariffs won't wind up hitting consumers' wallets but they will benefit "devastated" communities by bringing jobs back, Century Aluminum CEO Michael Bless told CNBC on Thursday.

Earlier Thursday in a meeting with steel and aluminum executives, Trump said the U.S. will impose a 25 percent tariff for steel and a 10 percent tariff for aluminum as early as next week.

Bless, who attended the White House meeting, said the decision will allow his company to bring back 150,000 tons of production in its Kentucky plant.

"We're going to hire almost 300 people, put another $100 million into the plant," he said on " Power Lunch ."

"These are devastated communities," he added. "The whole community will benefit."

As to whether there is a demand for more aluminum, Bless replied, "Our country is short by 5 million tons of aluminum per year, so we'll have people lining up to buy it."

While Century Aluminum 's stock jumped on the news Thursday, the Dow Jones industrial average plunged 550 points as investors worried about a trade war.

However, Bless said the tariffs are good for the U.S.

"It should be good for U.S. equities, and we don't think that this will cause any kind of distortions that the market should be worried about," he said.

Critics have also warned that tariffs could cause consumer prices to rise. Bless said he also doesn't think that will happen. But if it does, it will be minimal, he said.

During the meeting on Thursday, Trump argued that trade trends "destroyed" the American steel and aluminum industries.

But there was confusion leading up to the meeting as the administration struggled to agree on how to proceed.

While one White House aide told CNBC it was a "mess," Bless said it has been "seamless" and the meeting went off "without a hitch."

"We've been impressed that they could bring it together that quickly."

— CNBC's Jacob Pramuk and Eamon Javers contributed to this report.