U.S. Steel Corp accused the Chinese government of hacking into a company computer to steal the blueprints for new lightweight steel technology so that Beijing-based auto producers could expand their reach into America.
The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday that U.S. Steel filed a complaint with the International Trade Commission earlier this week accusing the Xi government of working on the behalf of Chinese auto companies to swipe proprietary plans for the new steel.
The Pittsburgh-based company alleges the hack infiltrated a researcher’s computer in 2011.
According to the Wall Street Journal:
The ITC, an independent agency that reviews and enforces U.S. trade policy, has within 30 calendar days to decide whether to launch an investigation. The agency typically investigates complaints. U.S. Steel says it expects any ITC probe resulting from its complaint "to reveal that the Chinese government disseminated U.S. Steel’s trade secrets to" Chinese steelmakers, "enabling them to manufacture [lightweight steels] that [compete] with U.S. Steel’s products."
On Wednesday, U.S. Steel Corps asked the federal government block imports from China's top steel producers after alleging that dozens of Chinese companies stole trade secrets.
The Chicago Tribune noted that the import ban would prohibit Chinese-produced carbon and alloy steel from making its way into the U.S., preventing the alleged hackers "from making billions of dollars from decades of research."
China's Commerce Ministry released a statement Wednesday encouraging U.S. officials to deny U.S. Steel's petition, calling the company's allegations "completely without factual basis."
The U.S. government last month imposed additional tariffs on Chinese steel imports and began investigating the nation's overproduction of cheap aluminum.