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Kawasaki Steel Corp. said Wednesday it has signed an agreement with AK Steel Corp. of the United States to cooperate on research and technology for automotive steel.

Under the agreement, the two companies will collaborate on product, process and application technologies for automotive sheet steel, as well as computer simulations and other areas related to information technology, Kawasaki said in a statement.

The agreement also calls for the two to license each other to use the new ally’s manufacturing technology to make steel materials for use in motor vehicles.

Based in Ohio, AK Steel posted net profits of $132.4 million on sales of $4.612 billion in 2000. It employs about 11,500 people.

Kawasaki Steel has a stake of some 5 percent in AK Steel but has no plans to increase it, a Kawasaki Steel official said.

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