China investing in Mississippi steel facility?
A handful of national and international business publications and blogs are reporting that a state-owned Chinese steel company has purchased — or has serious plans to purchase, depending on which one you read — a 20 percent stake in a Steel Development Corp rebar facility being built in Amory.
While that’s not news by itself, what is interesting is that a group of about 50 lawmakers who call themselves the Congressional Steel Caucus are opposing the move. They wrote a letter to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner last week asking him to open an investigation into the Anshan Iron and Steel Group. The group cites national security and American job interests as their reasons for opposing the deal (if there, in fact, is one).
For the record, there are no Mississippi lawmakers listed among the Caucus’ membership.
We have an email into Steel Develoment Corp. If and when we hear anything back, we’ll post it. Until then, a few more details can be gleaned here.
UPDATE: Verbatim from a Steel Development Corp. spokesperson, who said via email this would be all the company would have to say on the matter:
“Steel Development has a number of investors. As a private company, it is not our practice to share investor names or the level of their investments. However, due to unfounded concern regarding controlling interests in our company, we confirm that Anshan contributed less than 20 percent of the total investment in Steel Development.
As Steel Development endeavors to finalize the financing necessary to create 1,200 construction jobs and 100 permanent jobs in the domestic steel market, it has come under fire for incorporating this investment from Anshan. With Steel Development projecting production of 350,000 tons of rebar per year in a 120 million ton steel market (less than three tenths of percent), the promotion of national security fears due to the Anshan investment is, at best, difficult to rationalize.
Notwithstanding the extensive political pressure applied by certain members of congress and other steel producers seeking to impede competition by stopping Steel Development’s efforts to build one of the world’s most technologically advanced steel mills, we will continue to focus our efforts on creating jobs right here in America.”