ProPublica - [Wilbur] Ross has made a fortune in the steel industry — an industry of which the Commerce Department has significant oversight. Indeed, government transition documents show that the Commerce Department is slated to make no fewer than five decisions about steel trade soon after the inauguration which will directly affect businesses that Ross has a stake in.
Transition briefing documents, which ProPublica obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request, show how closely the Commerce Department is focused on enforcing and monitoring global steel supplies and demand. They makes clear how the department’s decisions could greatly benefit ArcelorMittal, the world’s largest steel producer, where Ross retains a stake and has long sat on the board (he was re-elected to a three-year term in 2015).
Among the impending decisions are rulings on unfair pricing investigations of steel imports from Belgium, France, Germany and Italy. The rulings are due within the first 100 days of the new Trump administration.
Ross has other potential conflicts. While Ross talks tough on China, he is an equity investor in a shipping company with a Chinese sovereign wealth fund. He has also invested in the China Huaneng Group, a state-owned power generator run by the eldest son of Li Peng, the former prime minister.
Ross sits on the boards of five publicly traded companies. Among them is the Bank of Cyprus, where he is vice chairman, and where he has been an investor along with Russian oligarchs.