The Jingye Group, a company with ties to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), “has agreed in principle to purchase British Steel for an estimated 70 million pounds ($90m),” reports Breitbart.
Gareth Stace, director-general of industry lobby group UK Steel, told BBC Radio 4, that the purchase could be driven by a desire to gain a foothold in the UK, as well as the fact that: “British Steel makes rail, high-quality rail and heavy sections, ie girders, which Jingye doesn’t make.”
“The acquisition deal could save up to 4,000 jobs in the UK, as British Steel has been propped up by the government since it went into liquidation in May.” British Steel accounts for one-third of steel production in the United Kingdom.
Just how connected the company is to the Chinese government is not fully known, however, the company’s site says that the founder and chairman of the Jingye Group, Li Ganpo, a Communist Party member, was a representative of the 11th National People’s Congress, the top legislative branch of the Chinese Communist Party.
Others fear that Chinese infiltration of the market might hurt steel industry. “In 2016, the European Steel Association (Eurofer) accused the Cameron government of acting as a ‘ringleader’ in blocking attempts to regulate imports of cheap Chinese steel into the European Union.”
A Eurofer spokesman said at the time: “The fact that the UK continues to block it means that when the government says it’s doing everything it can to save the steel industry in the UK and also in Europe, it’s not. It’s not true.”