Noting that ties between the steel industries of the United States and Japan are certain to deepen following the acquisition of US Steel by Nippon Steel, the president of Japan’s second largest steelmaker, JFE Steel announced his firm was interested in expanding its operations in the US as well.

On Monday, Nippon Steel, the top steelmaker in Japan, closed a deal to acquire Pittsburgh-based US Steel for $14.9 billion, beating out rivals who were also bidding on the company, including Cleveland-Cliffs, ArcelorMittal and Nucor.

At a news conference, JFE Steel President Yoshihisa Kitano said that for JFE, the flagship unit in JFE Holdings Inc, the attraction of the US steel market is that it would appear its demand is poised to steadily grow.

Kitano said, “The U.S. steel business is expected to grow… with solid demand growth anticipated from automobile sector.”

He also noted that there were several areas within the US market where a steelmaker could enjoy economic security, while they looked to produce solid earnings from a position of economic superiority.

Kitano said, “If there is an opportunity, we would like to consider (expanding) while assessing what kind of business areas present opportunities.”

However he added that his company, at present, has no concrete plan to increase its investment in the US.

Kitano, who also serves as the chairman of the Japan Iron and Steel Federation, said that as the head of the industry group, he could not comment on the deal by US Nippon to acquire US Steel.

However he said that in his personal opinion, the deal should serve to deepen the collaboration between the steel industries in the US and Japan, including such efforts as the push toward carbon neutrality.

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