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President Joe Biden says Nippon Steel deal for U.S. Steel needs 'serious scrutiny'

Lael Brainard, director of the US National Economic Council, said President Joe Biden has expressed concern over national security and supply chain issues with the sale of U.S. Steel to Nippon Steel. File Photo by Anna Rose Layden/UPI
Lael Brainard, director of the US National Economic Council, said President Joe Biden has expressed concern over national security and supply chain issues with the sale of U.S. Steel to Nippon Steel. File Photo by Anna Rose Layden/UPI | License Photo

Dec. 22 (UPI) -- The White House expressed that Nippon Steel's deal to purchase U.S. Steel may warrant an investigation from the Committee on Foreign Investments in the United States.

National Economic Advisor Lael Brainard said President Joe Biden 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."

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"This looks like the type of transaction that the interagency committee on foreign investment Congress empowered and the Biden administration strengthened is set up to carefully investigate," Brainard said. "This administration will be ready to look carefully at the findings of any such investigation and act if appropriate."

U.S. Steel, based in Pittsburgh, is one of the top steel producers in the United States, which also does production in Central Europe. It produces steel products that are used in the automotive, construction, consumer, electrical, industrial equipment, distribution, and energy industries.

"The president believes U.S. Steel was an integral part of our arsenal of democracy in WWII and remains a core component of the overall domestic steel production that is critical to our national security," Brainard said in a White House statement.

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Shortly after the $14.9 billion purchase was announced, Sen. John Fetterman, D-Pa., condemned the sale as "absolutely outrageous" in a video from the roof of his home across from U.S. Steel's Thompson plant, adding he was "committed to do anything I can do" to block the sale.

Sen. J.D. Vance, R-Ohio, also pledged "to do everything in my power to protect the future of our nation's security, industry and workers."

Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, also called for a CFIUS investigation in a letter to Biden on Wednesday.

"I urge you to utilize the authorities available to you to evaluate what Nippon Steel's purchase of U.S. Steel would mean for its workforce, for the security of our supply chain and industrial base, for our national security and for our capacity to export American steel," Brown wrote.

Nippon Steel and U.S. Steel did acknowledge in their SEC filing that accompanied the agreement that they expected CFIUS to look over the purchase.

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