Nippon Steel

Steeling for U.S. growth

1 minute read

It’s a storyline straight out of the 1980s: a large Japanese corporation threatens American industry, raising the hackles of politicians and workers. But in 2024, things are a bit more complicated. In December, Nippon Steel announced its nearly $15 billion buyout proposal of U.S. Steel, a 123-year-old icon of U.S. manufacturing might. U.S. Steel stockholders approved the transaction in April, with EU regulators following suit in May. The United Steelworkers union, which like U.S. Steel is headquartered in the swing state of Pennsylvania, is opposed, as are both Donald Trump and President Joe Biden. “It’s not going to be anybody else’s steel,” Biden said at a campaign stop in Pennsylvania in April. The fact that Japan is a key ally in U.S. efforts to counter the rise of China complicates the situation. As the administration considers whether to block the buyout on national security grounds, it must also weigh its domestic economic agenda—which includes reviving American manufacturing—with trade and geopolitical interests. Nippon Steel, the world’s fourth largest steelmaker, says it will protect jobs, make U.S. Steel more competitive, and even move its U.S. headquarters from Houston to Pittsburgh.

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