Baosteel Group says U.S. Steel accusations groundless
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[April 29, 2016]
By Ruby Lian and Manolo Serapio Jr
SHANGHAI/MANILA (Reuters) - China's
Baosteel Group said on Friday that accusations by U.S. Steel Corp
against the company, including that it had stolen commercial secrets,
were groundless and vowed to protect its legal rights.
China's second-biggest steelmaker and the world's fourth is the
first Chinese steel producer to respond to U.S. Steel, which
launched a campaign this week to halt imports from China.
"In particular, the charges claiming that Baosteel stole commercial
secrets from U.S. Steel is rootless speculation and subjective
assumption, and could even be described as an absurd statement,"
Baosteel said in an emailed statement.
"Baosteel has not and will never steal to obtain technology," the
company said, adding that it had consistently focused on original
research and technology improvement.
"The charges in the application violate the spirit of justice and
fairness and were also disrespectful and besmirching to Baosteel and
its research staff," it said.
"Baosteel will protect its legal rights in accordance with related
international regulations and laws."
U.S. Steel on Tuesday filed a complaint with the International Trade
Commission (ITC), calling on regulators to investigate dozens of
Chinese producers and their distributors for allegedly conspiring to
fix prices, stealing trade secrets and circumventing trade duties by
China's commerce ministry on Wednesday urged the ITC to reject U.S.
Steel's call, saying there was "no factual basis" for intellectual
property disputes over China's steel exports to the United States.
In a statement later on Friday, the China Iron and Steel Association
said allegations of intellectual property infringement were
"completely baseless" and that it strictly abides by Chinese law and
The United States, European Union and others last week called for
urgent action to address global steel overcapacity, after China and
other major steel producing nations failed to agree on measures to
tackle an industry crisis.
Britain in particular has been hit hard as its largest producer Tata
Steel has announced plans to pull out of the country,
threatening 15,000 jobs.
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Anger towards China has grown since last year as its steel exports
surged to a record 112 million tonnes, but a domestic steel price
rally could help limit shipments this year as producers sell more at
Baoshan Iron & Steel, the listed unit of Baosteel Group, said the
rapid increase in Chinese steel prices may deter government efforts
to curb overcapacity in the sector in the short term by prompting
once-shut mills to restart.
"This will slow the reduction in overcapacity, but with mills
reopening and supplies rising and the government strengthening
monitoring on real estate and futures, steel prices will fall,"
Baosteel board secretary Zhu Kebing told a separate online briefing.
Zhu attributed the spike in steel prices to previous big production
cuts, low inventories and an improving Chinese economy.
(Reporting by Ruby Lian and Manolo Serapio Jr, additional reporting
by Megha Rajagopalan in BEIJING; Editing by Ed Davies)
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