The Lead

White House says sale of U.S. Steel to foreign company deserves ‘serious scrutiny’

By: - December 22, 2023 11:08 am

President Joe Biden addresses the nation from the Oval Office of the White House on Oct. 19, 2023 in Washington, D.C. Biden discussed the U.S. response to the Hamas-Israel conflict, humanitarian assistance in Gaza, and the continued support for Ukraine during Russia’s ongoing invasion. (Photo by Jonathan Ernst – Pool/Getty Images)

The White House says the proposed sale of U.S. Steel to Japan company Nippon Steel warrants “serious scrutiny.”

President Joe Biden “has been clear that we welcome manufacturers across the world building their futures in America with American jobs and American workers,” National Economic Advisor Lael Brainard said in a statement. “However, he also believes the purchase of this iconic American-owned company by a foreign entity—even one from a close ally—appears to deserve serious scrutiny in terms of its potential impact on national security and supply chain reliability.”

Brainard added that the Biden administration would carefully review the findings if an investigation takes place, and if action is needed from the White House.

On Friday, a U.S. Steel spokesperson told the Capital-Star in an email that the company and Nippon Steel “proactively notified the U.S. Treasury Department, which chairs [the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States], that they would voluntarily file for review by CFIUS. We respect the CFIUS process and will work with the appropriate parties for a thorough and successful review.”

U.S. Steel also noted that Nippon Steel already operates multiple steel facilities across the United States, arguing that the sale will “strengthen the American steel industry, American jobs, America’s national security, and America’s supply chain.”

On Wednesday, Pennsylvania U.S. Sens. Bob Casey (D) and John Fetterman (D) and U.S. Rep. Chris Deluzio (D-17th District) sent a joint letter calling on U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen to block the proposed transaction.

The three lawmakers also criticized Nippon Steel for having facilities in China, which they described as a “foreign adversary of the U.S.” 

On Tuesday, those three lawmakers, along with U.S. Rep. Summer Lee (D-12th District) sent a letter to Nippon Steel demanding answers about their commitment to the residents of Pennsylvania.

In a statement this week, Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro said together with Pennsylvania Secretary of Community and Economic Development Rick Siger, that they would speak directly with the leaders of the United Steelworkers in Pennsylvania, the CEO of U.S. Steel, and senior leadership at Nippon Steel in with an eye toward  “protecting good-paying Pennsylvania jobs in the steel industry, keeping U.S. Steel’s headquarters in Pittsburgh and production in the Mon Valley and Western Pennsylvania, and ensuring the steel industry has a real growth strategy that benefits Pennsylvanians and the Commonwealth as a whole.”

As of October, U.S. Steel employed 3,703 workers in Pennsylvania.

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John Cole
John Cole

John Cole is a journalist based in Philadelphia. He's worked for various outlets such as The Northeast Times, PoliticsPA, and PCN. In these previous roles, he covered a wide range of topics from local civic association meetings to races across the commonwealth. He earned a degree in journalism from Temple University.