JSW Steel slaps cartel charges against US steel cos

Suresh P Iyengar Mumbai | Updated on June 09, 2021

A lawsuit alleged that the companies conspired to boycott and refused supply to the steel major’s subsidiaries

The US subsidiaries of JSW Steel have filed a federal court lawsuit against three of the largest US steel companies — Nucor Corp, United States Steel Corp and Cleveland-Cliffs Inc — and its recent acquisition, AK Steel Holding Corp, for indulging in unfair trade practice.

The lawsuit filed in the Southern District of Texas alleges that the defendant companies conspired to boycott and refused to supply JSW Steel (USA) Inc and JSW USA Steel Ohio, Inc with a critical feedstock of semi-finished steel slab since 2018 till date.

JSW alleged that the cartel cost the company hundreds of millions of dollars in lost profits, increased expenses and caused them other damages besides leading to higher prices, significant harm to US steel buyers and fewer jobs for US steelworkers.

Dominant players

Parth Jindal, JSW Steel (USA) Board member, said the three US steel companies have long been the dominant players and continue to use anti-competitive tactics against smaller producers like JSW to succeed at all costs.

In 2018, JSW announced its intention to make substantial investments to further expand and upgrade facilities. These companies derailed the plans and the company has filed the suit to respond assertively, he said.

They repeatedly stated that they could make semi-finished steel slab in the quantities and quality to meet JSW needs, but when the company tried to get them to move forward, they dragged things out and made excuses, said Jindal.

“We are now convinced that they never intended to make or sell steel slab to us,” he said.

John Hritz, Board member, JSW Steel (USA) Inc, said the company would have had a modern facility in Baytown, Texas operational by now that would have literally set the standard for green steel production in this country and the world.

“Our costs of production would have plummetted and our production would have increased dramatically. It would have provided US customers an environmentally sound steel products at much better prices,” he said.

The three US steel majors, who account for more than two-thirds of US steel production, would have faced stiffer competition, he said.

Published on June 09, 2021

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