However, he did not rule out the possibility, noting that the government may have to assume the pension liabilities if the companies folded instead of merging, according to a report from Reuters.
“If those plants close down…those benefits will have to be picked up,” he told reporters after giving a speech at a technology conference.
USX-US Steel Corp and Bethlehem Steel Corp. are currently in merger talks with several other steel companies – a restructuring that would give the American steel industry protection from imports for four years under Section 201 of the 1974 trade act.
Zoellick also noted that the mini-mills – which are more efficient than their larger counterparts – do not support the government’s proposal to taking over some pension costs.
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