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Sumitomo Metal Industries Ltd. said Tuesday it had decided to reinforce its tieup with Nippon Steel Corp., Japan’s largest steelmaker, in a move that will divide the Japanese steel industry into two major forces.

The two steelmakers will pursue ways to mutually supply semifinished steel products and cooperate in production, distribution and procurement to reduce costs, Sumitomo Metal said. They will also look for ways to reinforce their cooperation on stainless steel sheets and wide-flange shapes.

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