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In a move to its auto parts operations to Europe, Toyoda Gosei Co. has set up a joint venture with fellow Toyota affiliate Toyota Tsusho Corp. in Rotherham, England, to produce weatherstripping, it announced at a Monday news conference at the British Embassy in Tokyo.

The joint venture will start production of weatherstripping for Toyota France automobiles at the end of 2000.

It is targeting a turnover of 500 million yen in 2001 and 5 billion yen after 2004. The company will start off with 200 employees and is expected to create 400 jobs by 2005.

Toyoda Gosei U.K. Ltd. is the firm’s 15th overseas unit and its first in Europe.

Capitalized at about 4.3 billion yen, the joint venture is owned 80 percent by Toyoda Gosei and 20 percent by Toyota Tsusho.

The company plans to initially employ about 200 workers and expand the workforce to about 400 by 2005, informed sources said.

Toyoda Gosei President Tokio Horigome said he believes the company will have the ability “to become a truly global corporation with the global sourcing to serve our customers in the four corners of the world.”

Speaking at Tokyo’s British Embassy, Stephen Byers, Britain’s secretary of state for trade and industry, said the company’s presence will greatly strengthen Britain’s auto industry and the nation will remain the ideal location for Japanese investors to conduct trade with Europe.

The visiting British secretary also said, “We intend to do all that we can to ensure that when Japanese companies decided to invest in Europe, they will regard the United Kingdom as being the most desirable place in which to invest,” he said.

Byers arrived in Tokyo on Sunday for a four-day visit to hold talks with government and business leaders, and to take part in a series of British business events taking place in Japan.

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