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Lawmakers urges U.S. Treasury to reject Aleris sale to China giant

Staff Writer |
More than two dozen U.S. lawmakers have urged U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to reject the proposed sale of U.S. aluminum products maker Aleris Corp to China Zhongwang Holdings Ltd to protect U.S. security interests.

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In a June 9 letter to Mnuchin shared with Reuters, the 27 lawmakers said it would be a "strategic misstep" to allow the $2.33 billion sale to go ahead.

"It is critical that CFIUS (Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States) exercise extreme caution when a foreign investment transaction includes the transfer of military proficiencies and sensitive technology to China," the lawmakers wrote.

They added: "It would be a serious strategic misstep to permit a company like Zhongwang Holdings Ltd to take control of a U.S. aluminum firm like Aleris."

The lawmakers said Aleris was involved in the production and testing of specialized alloys used by the defense industry, and the company's research and technology were critical to U.S. economic and national security interests.

"Chinese entities, including state-owned or state-controlled enterprises, often maintain relationships with China's military, compounding the risk that U.S. technologies will fall into the wrong hands," they wrote.

Additionally, Zhongwang was under investigation by the U.S. Department of Commerce for allegedly evading U.S. import duties, and was being probed by U.S. agencies over allegations of smuggling, conspiracy and wire fraud, they said.

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