China called for fair treatment of its companies on Tuesday after U.S. lawmakers raised objections to a giant Chinese steelmaker's plans to invest in an American steel mill.
Fifty U.S. Congress members last week sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner urging an investigation into the U.S. plans of Anshan Iron and Steel Group, one of China's biggest steelmakers.
"Commercial cooperation between the two countries is mutually beneficial," foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang told reporters. "Chinese companies should get fair treatment from the U.S. side."
The state-run steelmaker, also known as Ansteel, signed an agreement with U.S. steel mill Steel Development Company in May that includes the construction of five steel plants in the United States.
"We are deeply concerned that their direct investment in an American steel company threatens American jobs and our national security," the lawmakers said in the letter. "We believe that this investment allows the full force and financing of the Chinese government to exploit the American steel market from American soil."
On Monday, Ansteel said it was looking into the protest by the U.S. lawmakers and was dispatching an executive to the United States this week, Dow Jones Newswires reported.
A series of trade disputes have strained Sino-U.S. ties in recent months, including the value of the Chinese currency and Google's spat with Beijing over censorship.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2010