China’s Baosteel Group said that accusations by United States Steel Corp. (U.S. Steel) it stole commercial secrets were groundless and untrue.
The Chinese firm said in a statement that it abides by laws and regulations and duly respects rules of the market days after the biggest U.S. steelmaker filed a complaint with the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) against around 40 Chinese steel producers and their distributors.
The Pittsburgh-based company said in a statement that its complaint regarded “alleged illegal unfair competition methods and [it] seeks the exclusion of all unfairly traded Chinese steel products from the U.S. market.”
The ITC has up to 30 days to decide whether it will initiate the case.
Baosteel said the accusation that it had stolen commercial secretes was absurd, adding that it was an insult to the company’s hardworking research and development staff.
“Baosteel will protect its legal rights in accordance with related international regulations and laws,” the company said.
An unnamed official with the Chinese Ministry of Commerce (MOC) that China and the United States should improve dialogue and communication on global steel overcapacity.
The MOC official said he hoped the ITC would overrule the charges as the provision cited by U.S Steel had mostly been used in intellectual property rights (IPR) dispute cases.
“Steel products are relatively mature and there are no IPR disputes regarding them. Charges of IPR infringement are groundless,” the official said.
The U.S. Steel move also came under criticism in the Chinese state media, which said it was an attempt to protect steelmakers.
“The intention to crack down on Chinese steel products is against market principals and free trade sprit – also, it only fits the interests of a small group of people in the United States,” People’s Daily said.
China, which produces more steel than the rest of the world put together, is selling aggressively to overseas markets as the domestic economy slows and demand falls. Exports in March alone amounted to 10 million tonnes, an increase of 29.6 per cent from a year earlier, the Xinhua news agency quoted customs data as saying.