Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

U.S. Steel Accuses Chinese Steelmakers of Price Fixing, Stealing Trade Secrets

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

U.S. Steel Accuses Chinese Steelmakers of Price Fixing, Stealing Trade Secrets

Article excerpt

U.S. Steel reported a larger than expected first-quarter loss Tuesday and took aggressive action against the party it believes is responsible for much of its woes: Chinese steelmakers.

U.S. Steel filed a trade complaint against China's largest steel producers and their distributors, alleging they conspired to fix prices, steal trade secrets and circumvent duties on steel imports by falsely labeling products. The Pittsburgh steelmaker said it wants all unfairly traded Chinese steel products excluded from the U.S. market.

The complaint was filed with the U.S. International Trade Commission, which has 30 days to decide whether to initiate a case.

"We have said we will use every tool available to fight for fair trade," president and CEO Mario Longhi said in a statement released by the company.

A U.S. Steel spokeswoman said the allegation regarding stolen trade secrets is based on the 2014 federal indictment of five members of the Chinese military for hacking the computer systems of U.S. Steel, Allegheny Technologies, Westinghouse, Alcoa and the United Steelworkers union. None of those defendants has been brought to trial.

USW international president Leo Gerard said the union backs the company's complaint, adding, "America's steel sector is under attack by China."

"The case clearly lays out the array of actions China has taken to steal market share and jobs," Mr. Gerard said in a statement released by the union.

U.S. Steel said it lost $340 million, or $2.32 per share in the first quarter, vs. a loss of $75 million, or 52 cents per share, in the year-ago quarter. Sales fell 28 percent to $2.34 billion while shipments were off 12 percent.

Analysts had forecast a quarterly loss of $1.29 per share and sales of $2.5 billion.

The results reflect a charge of $25 million, or 17 cents per share, related to supplemental unemployment benefits and severance paid to workers who were laid off. …

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