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No. 354, March 1999

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Japanese Companies in the US


METALS AND FABRICATED PRODUCTS

Steel pipe for ongoing and planned ATLANTIC RICHFIELD CO. oil and gas exploration and production projects around the world will be supplied primarily by MARUBENI CORP. The three-year contract volume could be around 550,000 tons, worth something on the order of $427.4 million. The trader will source the pipe from KAWASAKI STEEL CORP. and other Japanese steel mills. If Los Angeles-headquartered ARCO decides to go ahead with a natural gas project on Alaska's North Slope, it could require another 550,000 tons of pipe. Marubeni is one of the companies involved in a feasibility study of this project (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 348, September 1998, p. 4). ARCO tapped Marubeni as its main pipe supplier as part of a process of trying to thin the huge number of companies from which it obtains goods and services.

Under a four-year agreement, SANYO SPECIAL STEEL CO., LTD., the world leader in the production of high-quality bars made from specialty steel, will provide technical assistance to BAR TECHNOLOGIES, INC. on alloy round bar and wire rod. The Himeji, Hyogo prefecture company will help Fairlawn, Ohio-based Bar Technologies in such areas of rapid steel melting, rolling, finishing and inspection. This assistance is expected to boost Bar Technologies' chances of winning contracts from Japanese- affiliated automotive manufacturers in North America. At the end of 1997, Sanyo Special Steel provided similar technical assistance to REPUBLIC ENGINEERED STEELS, INC. of Massillon, Ohio, the top American producer of carbon and specialty steel engineered bars. In the interim, Bar Technologies purchased Republic.

An exchange rate of ¥117=$1.00 was used in this report.aaaaaa

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