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Thick plates of steel for use in construction and ship building are hot-rolled by machinery at the Nippon Steel Corp. Kimitsu steel mill in Kimitsu, Japan near Tokyo February 6, 2008.

Biden slams Nippon Steel deal — but Tokyo plays it cool

US President Joe Biden on Thursday came out against Japan’s largest steel producer acquiring Pittsburgh-based US Steel, saying America must “maintain strong American steel companies powered by American steelworkers.”

Nippon Steel made an offer worth over $14 billion in December, and shortly afterward the White House indicated it would be scrutinized by the Committee on Foreign Investments in the United States. For now, the deal is still on, but CFIUS review is usually reserved for deals involving companies from potential adversaries – not from trusted allies like Japan — and presidents rarely comment before the committee finishes.

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An entrance to the U.S. Steel Great Lakes Works plant is seen in Ecorse, Michigan, U.S., September 24, 2019. Picture taken September 24, 2019.

REUTERS/Rebecca Cook

Nippon Steel’s US deal may be good business, but it’s bad politics

The Global Business Alliance, a group of multinational corporations, is urging the Biden administration to keep politics out of any national security review of Nippon Steel’s offer to buy U.S. Steel — but politics is precisely the problem.

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