A federal commission is launching an investigation into whether China stole trade secrets to fix steel prices.
It's a major victory for Pittsburgh-based U.S. Steel, which made the complaint that sparked the probe.
The major Northwest Indiana employer alleges that China broke the law to flood the steel market with cheap exports -- that it drove down American steel prices and cost thousands of U.S. jobs.
In a statement, U.S. Steel CEO Mario Longhi says he's confident the ITC will find evidence showing Chinese companies "engaged in collusion, theft and fraud." His company wants the commission to recommend a total ban on Chinese steel imports.
So it's not just steelworkers who are watching the case closely -- it's also the companies that buy raw steel. Indiana Manufacturers Association Vice President Andrew Berger says in an email that cheap steel can be good for companies' bottom lines.
But, he writes, "all manufacturers benefit from supply stability and as few distortions in the market as possible." He thinks this investigation will help achieve that.
The probe could take as long as a year and a half to complete.