International Steel Mills

Senator asks Biden to probe Nippon’s ties to China

Written by Laura Miller

A prominent US senator has asked the White House to investigate Nippon Steel Corp.’s (NSC) ties to China on national security grounds as the Japanese steelmaker seeks to acquire U.S. Steel.

In a letter to President Joe Biden this week, Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) referenced a report also released this week that examines the relationship between Nippon Steel and the Chinese steel industry.

Horizon Advisory, which bills itself as a “geopolitical and risk intelligence provider,” released the “Forged Friendship: Nippon, China, and Industrial Base Risks” report this month. Horizon lays out the history of NSC’s dealings and production footprint in China, including its joint-venture partners.

“Nippon can redeem only so much reward from the Japanese market. The Chinese market is the largest prize that remains,” the report says. “And the company’s corporate strategy – all else being equal – is likely to feature some effort to curry favor with the Chinese Communist Part in the decades ahead.”

Senator Brown says the report raises “serious questions” about NSC’s “1) entanglement with and prioritization of the Chinese steel market, 2) joint ventures with entities that may meet the definition of a ‘Chinese military company’ … and 3) possible violations of the Uighur Forced Labor Protection Act.”

“As you examine this deal, I urge you to thoroughly investigate the allegations raised in this report and examine Nippon’s ties to the Chinese government and the danger this merger poses to American national and economic security,” Brown said in his letter.

“We cannot allow our US industrial base to be compromised through further entanglement with one of our biggest national security threats, and our largest economic competitor that we know does not follow our trade laws,” the senator ended the letter.

NSC did not respond to a request for comment.

Laura Miller

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