A Geneva Steel executive gave Japanese steelmakers a tongue-lashing and called on them to open their market to international competition at a recent conference in Osaka.

Robert J. Grow, Geneva president and chief operating officer, challenged the Japanese to accept the responsibilities of affluence."Japan, like the United States, is a rich country, and as such, it must bear its share of certain responsibilities in the world," Grow told those attending the Japanese Iron and Steel Importers Institute meeting Dec. 13. Grow, vice chairman-elect of the American Iron and Steel Institute, was the first American steel official to speak before JISII.

Grow said that Japan is not being a "good citizen of the world" by allowing Japanese mills to pressure distributors and customers not to use imported steel. Japanese steelmakers enter into secret agreements with Europeans to restrict competition and make private import quota arrangements with foreign mills, he said. In so doing, the Japanese steel industry is forcing higher prices on its own customers and neglecting three obligations of prosperous nations toward other nations.

First, the advanced countries must be ready to absorb some exports from developing countries, Grow said.

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"And right now, Japan is not taking its share. It simply will not do for Japan to close its borders to these exports and, in effect, to channel them toward the United States," he said.

Second, Grow said, affluent nations must adhere to the letter and spirit of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade. "Secret, restrictive market deals are antithetical to everything GATT stands for, and if they are allowed to proliferate, the system itself cannot endure."

Finally, Grow referred to ongoing efforts on the part of Japan and other Asian countries to achieve free trade in the Pacific Rim by 2020.

"This may be one of the most ambitious and far-reaching developments ever to occur in world trade, rivaling the establishment of the GATT system itself," Grow said. "But it can be completely undone if the dismantling of tariffs and other government restrictions is simply replaced by a system of clandestine, private protection, as you are now doing in the steel market."

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