RPT-China commentary slams U.S. for steel suspicions

(Repeats an item that ran on Tuesday with no changes to text)

BEIJING, July 6 (BestGrowthStock) – China’s official Xinhua news
agency on Tuesday criticised a group of 50 U.S. lawmakers for
calling for a probe into Chinese investment in the U.S. steel
sector, saying protectionism was rearing its ugly head again.

The bipartisan group of U.S. lawmakers pushed for an
investigation into whether the Chinese investment in the U.S.
steel sector should be blocked on national security grounds.

The U.S. Congressional Steel Caucus, in a letter to Treasury
Secretary Timothy Geithner, said it was “deeply concerned” the
recently announced joint venture between Anshan Iron and Steel
Group’s [ASISG.UL] and the Steel Development Co also threatened
American jobs. [ID:nN02241776]

The Chinese state-owned firm, also known as Angang, plans to
invest in a $175 million rebar facility that Steel Development is
building in Amory, Mississippi. Rebar is a reinforcing steel bar
commonly used in concrete and masonry structures.

Xinhua said the production of rebar was hardly a secret and
that the project had no access to “new steel production
technologies”.

“The tendency towards trade and investment protectionism is
rearing its ugly head again,” Xinhua said in the English-language
article.

“It is common sense within the industry that nowadays, steel
trading is done through futures exchange or spots markets, so the
supply of rebar for certain ‘national security infrastructure
projects’ is irrelevant to producers,” Xinhua added.

Such Chinese investments in the United States would help
address the very economic imbalances between the two sides many
U.S. politicians complain about, it said.

“It is known to all that Chinese companies’ direct investment
in the United States is one solution to the imbalance, but if the
American side follows the logic of the above-mentioned
congressmen, it will only make things worse,” Xinhua said.

“By root, the logic of those congressmen reflects the
over-sensitive psychology of certain U.S. politicians toward
China. It also signals their tendency toward protectionism.”

The move comes at a time when U.S. steel companies have
complained loudly about unfair competition from China and have
won a number of U.S. anti-dumping and countervailing duties on
Chinese steel goods.

It also follows a high-level pledge by Geithner and senior
Chinese officials in late May that the United States and China
would remain open to each other’s investments.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang, who would not
comment directly on the steel case, said he hoped Chinese
companies investing in the United States would be treated fairly.

“The Chinese government encourages Chinese firms to invest in
the United States and engage in cooperation there, and to respect
the law there. At the same time, we hope that … the U.S. market
is open and that Chinese companies are fairly treated,” he said.

The United States blocks few foreign investments.

But last year, a Chinese mining company backed out of a deal
to invest in a Nevada gold mine after the CFIUS review raised
security concerns. The mine was about 100 km (60 miles) from a
base the U.S. Navy uses to train its pilots.

China National Offshore Oil Corp (CNOOC) withdrew its bid to
buy Unocal Oil Co in 2005 after many U.S. lawmakers objected on
national security grounds.
(Reporting by Ben Blanchard)

RPT-China commentary slams U.S. for steel suspicions