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The US senator is urging Biden to review Nippon Steel’s alleged ties with China

By David Shepardson and Yuka Obayashi

WASHINGTON/TOKYO (Reuters) -The head of the U.S. Senate Banking Committee on Tuesday urged the White House to take a closer look at the relationship between Nippon Steel and China’s steel industry, citing national security concerns. amid bipartisan opposition in Congress to the Japanese company’s $14.9 billion deal. to US Steel Corp.

“As you investigate this deal, I urge you to thoroughly investigate the allegations in this report and investigate Nippon’s ties to the Chinese government and the danger this merger poses to U.S. national and economic security .” Sherrod Brown said in a letter to Biden, citing an April report from consulting firm Horizon Advisory.

Nippon Steel said in a statement that Horizon’s report was “full of inaccuracies and misrepresentations” and that its operations in China were “very limited”, representing less than 5% of global production capacity.

The White House did not immediately comment. Horizon Advisory did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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Horizon’s report said Nippon has a long history of supporting the establishment of China’s steel industry and operates all or part of nine facilities in China and has active joint ventures with a range of state-backed steel champions.

“Nippon’s connection to China’s steel ecosystem and industrial policy agenda has troubling implications regarding ties to China’s military-civilian fusion strategy and quest for global economic power,” said Brown, an Ohio Democrat who is running for another term on 5 November. elections.

Nippon Steel said the entities it invests in in China have no control over its activities or business decisions outside China, and its Chinese partners do not have access to information about Nippon Steel’s activities, including about its R&D and engineering, outside China. China.

The White House views steel as crucial to national security, and Biden said last month that US Steel should remain in its own hands. His opponent in the November 5 presidential election, former President Donald Trump, has vowed to block the deal if he wins.

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(Reporting by David Shepardson in Washington and Yuka Obayashi in Tokyo; Editing by John Geddie and Stephen Coates)

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