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For the last two days, members of the Mobile Area Chamber‘s economic development department and international trade division participated in the 38th Annual Joint Meeting of the Southeast U.S./Japan and the Japan-U.S. Southeast Associations (SEUS Japan) in Birmingham. This event brings global business leaders to Alabama for several days of economic and cultural briefings between delegates from Japan and seven Southeastern U.S. member states.
Christina Stimpson, director of international trade for the Chamber says this event provides a platform for sharing new ideas and building business and cultural ties. “Many of the conference participants were unaware of the incredible innovation that exists in Alabama and as the host state we were able to show that off,” she added.
On Wednesday, the Japanese External Trade Organization (JETRO) in collaboration with the Saitama Industrial Development Corp. will be in Mobile representing small businesses from Saitama, Japan, a community outside of Tokyo. Specifically, the delegation will be meeting with locally based aerospace companies with MRO capabilities in the Mobile area to explore potential business opportunities.
Mobile has a significant international business base. There are 40 companies in our area whose headquarters are in 19 countries around the globe. Below are profiles of the four Japan-headquartered companies with operations in Mobile.
AM/NS Calvert is a 50/50 joint venture between ArcelorMittal and Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corp. (NSSMC). The steel processing plant is located in Calvert, 35 miles north of Mobile. Formerly operated under ThyssenKrupp, the plant opened in 2010. It has the capacity to produce 5.3 million tons of flat rolled carbon steel products annually.
The facility includes a river terminal, hot strip mill, cold rolling mill, rail yard and supporting infrastructure. It serves the automotive, construction, pipe and tube, service center, and appliance/HVAC industries. AM/NS Calvert is currently the second largest manufacturer in Mobile County with 1,600 employees. Nippon Steel is globally headquartered in Tokyo. When Nippon Steel and Sumitomo merged in 2012, it became the world’s second largest steel producer by volume (37 million tons of crude steel.)
Master Halco is the world’s leading manufacturer and wholesale distributor of perimeter security and fencing. The company operates manufacturing plants, corporate and branch offices. Started in 1961, Master Halco offers fence systems in vinyl, wood, ornamental and chain-link fences and gates for residential, commercial, industrial and high security applications. It is the provider of security and fencing to professional contractors and quality building material retailers.
The Mobile location serves as one of 60 site locations across the United States and Canada. Master Halco is a subsidiary company of Itochu International, Incorporated with global headquarters in Osaka and Tokyo.
At the plant in Theodore, 15 miles west of Mobile, electric components and silicon wafers are manufactured for the semiconductor industry. The Theodore plant, which opened in 1998, currently employs around 150. Mitsubishi Polysilicon is the newest addition to the Mitsubishi Material Corporation, founded in 1950. As a supplier of advanced electronic products and a process manufacturer, its global headquarters is in Tokyo.
Founded in 1990, Plasmine Technology produces and sells high quality rosin and various surface treatment additives for the paper and paperboard industries. The core business is the manufacture of rosin based additives for the paper industry. It has diversified its product offering to include an assortment of chemical additives for the tissue and towel segment of the paper industry. Plasmine is a subsidiary of Harima Chemicals of Osaka, Japan. One of the two manufacturing plants in the United States is located in Bay Minette, 35 miles northeast of Mobile.
Ricoh Americas Corporation
Ricoh is a global information and technology company. Established in Tokyo in 1936, Ricoh Group today operates in more than 200 countries and regions. Ricoh Americas, with a location in Mobile, was founded in 1962. Ricoh became the first Japanese company to manufacture office equipment in the United States. The company produces highly-advanced digital copiers, printed circuit boards, toner, recycled toner cartridges and customer configured products.