China's Baosteel Group says U.S. Steel accusations groundless

Fri Apr 29, 2016 1:31pm EDT
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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 false labeling.

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.   Continued...

A woman is reflected on a wall with a company logo of Baosteel Group at an office in Shanghai, July 24, 2011. REUTERS/Stringer