Japan Preparing to Regulate Big Tech in Collaboration with U.S. and Europe

Japan has followed the United States, Australia, and numerous countries around the world in preparing to heavily regulate big tech companies, including Apple, due to antitrust disputes and fears about market control (via Reuters).

Japan is reportedly “laying the groundwork” to regulate big tech companies including Apple, Google, Amazon, and Facebook. Kazuyuki Furuya, chairman of Japan’s Fair Trade Commission (FTC), said that Tokyo will join global efforts to regulate digital platform operators.

“If the size of any merger or business-tie up is big, we can launch an anti-monopoly investigation into the buyer’s process of acquiring a start-up,” Furuya told Reuters. “We’re closely watching developments including in Europe.”

Furuya expressed the need for global coordination when regulating large technology companies, particularly since they tend to have similar business practices across the globe.

We’ll work closely with our U.S. and European counterparts, and respond if to any moves that hamper competition.

If digital platform providers are found to be abusing their dominant market positions against the interests of consumers, the FTC says that it is ready to act decisively with probes that will “push through aggressively.” The FTC will also investigate the Japanese smartphone market and determine if there can be improvements made to encourage competition.

Major antitrust inquiries have now been undertaken in the United States, the European Union, Italy, Australia, Russia, and South Korea.

In particular, the European Union is preparing forceful regulations for big tech, including compiling a “hit-list” of companies and a wide-reaching Digital Services Act that could ban tech companies from pre-installing apps and force them to share data with their competitors.

Note: Due to the political or social nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Political News forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

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Japan has followed the United States, Australia, and numerous countries around the world in preparing to heavily regulate big tech companies, including Apple, due to antitrust disputes and fears about market control (via Reuters).



Japan is reportedly "laying the groundwork" to regulate big tech companies including Apple, Google, Amazon, and Facebook. Kazuyuki Furuya, chairman of Japan's Fair Trade Commission (FTC), said that Tokyo will join global efforts to regulate digital platform operators.

"If the size of any merger or business-tie up is big, we can launch an anti-monopoly investigation into the buyer's process of acquiring a start-up," Furuya told Reuters. "We're closely watching developments including in Europe."


Furuya expressed the need for global coordination when regulating large technology companies, particularly since they tend to have similar business practices across the globe.

We'll work closely with our U.S. and European counterparts, and respond if to any moves that hamper competition.


If digital platform providers are found to be abusing their dominant market positions against the interests of consumers, the FTC says that it is ready to act decisively with probes that will "push through aggressively." The FTC will also investigate the Japanese smartphone market and determine if there can be improvements made to encourage competition.

Major antitrust inquiries have now been undertaken in the United States, the European Union, Italy, Australia, Russia, and South Korea.

In particular, the European Union is preparing forceful regulations for big tech, including compiling a "hit-list" of companies and a wide-reaching Digital Services Act that could ban tech companies from pre-installing apps and force them to share data with their competitors.

Note: Due to the political or social nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Political News forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.
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Apple Watch ECG Feature Receives Final Medical Approval in Japan

Apple’s ECG app and irregular heart rhythm notifications on the Apple Watch Series 4 and 5 have received domestic approval and certification from Japan’s medical authorities, indicating that both features should go live in the country very soon.


The approval was confirmed by the Japanese Association for the Advancement of Medical Equipment (JAAME) on Friday, September 4, and subsequently reported by tech blog iPhone Mania today. An imminent update to Apple’s watchOS will likely turn on the features for existing ‌Apple Watch‌ owners.

As a result of the approval, the Ochanomizu Department of Cardiology has begun moving forward with its ‌Apple Watch‌ Outpatient program, which will help registered patients use devices to help them record suspected arrhythmia attacks and submit them for further detailed examination.

‌‌Apple Watch‌‌ Series 4 and 5 users can generate an ECG waveform in just 30 seconds by placing their finger on the Digital Crown. The idea is that you can take this information to your doctor, if the results are abnormal, and use it as a basis to discover if you have any larger issues at hand.


Apple routinely has to gain approval from government health agencies before marketing the ‌‌Apple Watch‌‌’s ECG feature in different countries. Apple won U.S. FDA clearance to promote the function when the ‌‌Apple Watch‌‌ Series 4 launched in 2018.

Japan’s Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices Agency (PMDA) updated its list of registered foreign manufacturers to include Apple as a “certified entity” in June.

Related Roundups: Apple Watch, watchOS 6, watchOS 7
Tags: Japan, ECG
Buyer’s Guide: Apple Watch (Don’t Buy)

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Apple's ECG app and irregular heart rhythm notifications on the Apple Watch Series 4 and 5 have received domestic approval and certification from Japan's medical authorities, indicating that both features should go live in the country very soon.


The approval was confirmed by the Japanese Association for the Advancement of Medical Equipment (JAAME) on Friday, September 4, and subsequently reported by tech blog iPhone Mania today. An imminent update to Apple's watchOS will likely turn on the features for existing ‌Apple Watch‌ owners.

As a result of the approval, the Ochanomizu Department of Cardiology has begun moving forward with its ‌Apple Watch‌ Outpatient program, which will help registered patients use devices to help them record suspected arrhythmia attacks and submit them for further detailed examination.

‌‌Apple Watch‌‌ Series 4 and 5 users can generate an ECG waveform in just 30 seconds by placing their finger on the Digital Crown. The idea is that you can take this information to your doctor, if the results are abnormal, and use it as a basis to discover if you have any larger issues at hand.


Apple routinely has to gain approval from government health agencies before marketing the ‌‌Apple Watch‌‌'s ECG feature in different countries. Apple won U.S. FDA clearance to promote the function when the ‌‌Apple Watch‌‌ Series 4 launched in 2018.

Japan's Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices Agency (PMDA) updated its list of registered foreign manufacturers to include Apple as a "certified entity" in June.
Related Roundups: Apple Watch, watchOS 6, watchOS 7
Tags: Japan, ECG

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Japanese Developers Criticize Apple’s App Store Policies and Approval Process

The ongoing dispute between Apple and Epic Games has spurred complaints from Japanese game developers about Apple’s App Store business model and the way it handles third-party app submissions.

Bloomberg reports that some developers in the Japanese gaming market have been emboldened by the dispute and are becoming more vocal about their own concerns, which including Apple’s 30% commission rate and inconsistent enforcement of App Store policies.

While Epic, publisher of the hit title Fortnite, focuses on the 30% revenue cut app stores typically take, Japanese game studios have broader concerns. They have long been unhappy with what they see as Apple’s inconsistent enforcement of its own App Store guidelines, unpredictable content decisions and lapses in communication, according to more than a dozen people involved in the matter.

According to game developers in Japan, Google’s Play Store offers a smoother approval process and better communication than the App Store. Some developers even rely on a third-party service called iOS Reject Rescue, which helps them navigate through Apple’s approval process if their app is rejected.

“Apple’s app review is often ambiguous, subjective and irrational,” said Makoto Shoji, founder of PrimeTheory, which provides the rejection service. “While Apple will never admit it, I think there are times when they simply forget an item’s in the review queue or they intentionally keep it untouched as a sanction to a developer giving them the wrong attitude,” Shoji told Bloomberg.

Japanese developers have also been critical of the way Apple interprets what is appropriate content and say it often changes policies without advance notice. One topic in particular they take issue with is Apple’s judgement of what constitutes overtly sexualized or pornographic material. The report notes that several game studios had characters in swimsuits approved only for them to be later rejected as Apple considered them to be “sexualized.”

Apple has faced increasing scrutiny over its App Store practices from both developers and regulators in recent months. In response to the public clash between Apple and Epic Games, Japan’s antitrust regulator has said it will “step up attention” to the iPhone maker’s practices and how they affect the country’s massive mobile gaming market.

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The ongoing dispute between Apple and Epic Games has spurred complaints from Japanese game developers about Apple's App Store business model and the way it handles third-party app submissions.

Bloomberg reports that some developers in the Japanese gaming market have been emboldened by the dispute and are becoming more vocal about their own concerns, which including Apple's 30% commission rate and inconsistent enforcement of App Store policies.
While Epic, publisher of the hit title Fortnite, focuses on the 30% revenue cut app stores typically take, Japanese game studios have broader concerns. They have long been unhappy with what they see as Apple's inconsistent enforcement of its own App Store guidelines, unpredictable content decisions and lapses in communication, according to more than a dozen people involved in the matter.
According to game developers in Japan, Google's Play Store offers a smoother approval process and better communication than the App Store. Some developers even rely on a third-party service called iOS Reject Rescue, which helps them navigate through Apple's approval process if their app is rejected.

"Apple's app review is often ambiguous, subjective and irrational," said Makoto Shoji, founder of PrimeTheory, which provides the rejection service. "While Apple will never admit it, I think there are times when they simply forget an item's in the review queue or they intentionally keep it untouched as a sanction to a developer giving them the wrong attitude," Shoji told Bloomberg.

Japanese developers have also been critical of the way Apple interprets what is appropriate content and say it often changes policies without advance notice. One topic in particular they take issue with is Apple's judgement of what constitutes overtly sexualized or pornographic material. The report notes that several game studios had characters in swimsuits approved only for them to be later rejected as Apple considered them to be "sexualized."

Apple has faced increasing scrutiny over its App Store practices from both developers and regulators in recent months. In response to the public clash between Apple and Epic Games, Japan's antitrust regulator has said it will "step up attention" to the iPhone maker's practices and how they affect the country's massive mobile gaming market.
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Apple Watch ECG Feature Likely Coming Soon to Japan and Brazil

Apple has included an ECG function in new Apple Watch models since 2018, providing users in select territories with the ability to measure the electrical activity of their heart. Apple now appears to be ready to extend the ECG feature to Brazil and Japan, based on recent government filings.


According to MacOtakara, Japan’s Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices Agency (PMDA) recently updated its list of registered foreign manufacturers to include Apple as a “certified entity.” Apple’s inclusion in the list makes no mention of the ECG function, but it’s more than likely that Apple’s certification relates to the feature found in ‌Apple Watch‌ Series 4 and 5 models.

Apple was registered on March 25, 2020, which 9to5Mac notes was the same day the Brazilian government announced approval of Apple’s ECG app. Apple will likely now issue an update to ‌Apple Watch‌ users in the two countries to enable the electrocardiogram feature and irregular heart notifications on their devices.

Apple routinely has to gain approval from government health agencies before marketing the ‌Apple Watch‌’s ECG feature in different countries. Apple won U.S. FDA clearance to promote the function when the ‌Apple Watch‌ Series 4 launched in 2018.

Saudi Arabia was the last country to gain ECG functionality and irregular heart rhythm notifications with the release of watchOS 6.2.5 in May.

Related Roundups: Apple Watch, watchOS 6
Tags: Brazil, Japan
Buyer’s Guide: Apple Watch (Caution)

This article, “Apple Watch ECG Feature Likely Coming Soon to Japan and Brazil” first appeared on MacRumors.com

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Apple has included an ECG function in new Apple Watch models since 2018, providing users in select territories with the ability to measure the electrical activity of their heart. Apple now appears to be ready to extend the ECG feature to Brazil and Japan, based on recent government filings.


According to MacOtakara, Japan's Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices Agency (PMDA) recently updated its list of registered foreign manufacturers to include Apple as a "certified entity." Apple's inclusion in the list makes no mention of the ECG function, but it's more than likely that Apple's certification relates to the feature found in ‌Apple Watch‌ Series 4 and 5 models.

Apple was registered on March 25, 2020, which 9to5Mac notes was the same day the Brazilian government announced approval of Apple's ECG app. Apple will likely now issue an update to ‌Apple Watch‌ users in the two countries to enable the electrocardiogram feature and irregular heart notifications on their devices.

Apple routinely has to gain approval from government health agencies before marketing the ‌Apple Watch‌'s ECG feature in different countries. Apple won U.S. FDA clearance to promote the function when the ‌Apple Watch‌ Series 4 launched in 2018.

Saudi Arabia was the last country to gain ECG functionality and irregular heart rhythm notifications with the release of watchOS 6.2.5 in May.
Related Roundups: Apple Watch, watchOS 6
Tags: Brazil, Japan
Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Caution)

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Apple to Start Reopening Stores in Japan This Week

Apple is set to start reopening its retail stores in Japan this week after having been closed for months because of the global health crisis.


Bloomberg‘s Mark Gurman notes that Apple’s website says stores in Fukuoka and Nagoya Sakae will reopen on May 27. Reopening dates for the country’s eight other Apple stores have not yet been posted.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has lifted the country’s nationwide state of emergency, ending restrictions in the remaining areas where the order was still in effect, one week ahead of schedule.

Apple has reopened stores in Australia, Germany, Austria, South Korea, Switzerland and some stores in Italy and the U.S.

The company is taking safety measures as it gradually re-opens stores across the globe. These include temperature checks conducted at the door, limited occupancy, and a renewed emphasis on one-to-one service. As an alternative to entering some physical stores, customers can also expect to see curb-side pickup and drop off options.

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Apple is set to start reopening its retail stores in Japan this week after having been closed for months because of the global health crisis.


Bloomberg's Mark Gurman notes that Apple's website says stores in Fukuoka and Nagoya Sakae will reopen on May 27. Reopening dates for the country's eight other Apple stores have not yet been posted.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has lifted the country's nationwide state of emergency, ending restrictions in the remaining areas where the order was still in effect, one week ahead of schedule.

Apple has reopened stores in Australia, Germany, Austria, South Korea, Switzerland and some stores in Italy and the U.S.

The company is taking safety measures as it gradually re-opens stores across the globe. These include temperature checks conducted at the door, limited occupancy, and a renewed emphasis on one-to-one service. As an alternative to entering some physical stores, customers can also expect to see curb-side pickup and drop off options.
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Apple Begins Selling Certified Refurbished 16-Inch MacBook Pro Models Internationally

Apple has been offering certified refurbished 16-inch MacBook Pro models in the United States for a couple of weeks now, but today it started selling refurb 16-inch models through its international online stores for the first time since the notebook was released in November 2019. All of the refurbished configurations are discounted by 15 percent compared to the equivalent brand new models.


In the United Kingdom for example, a Silver 16-inch MacBook Pro 2.6GHz 6-core Intel Core i7 is listed for £2,039, down from £2,399, offering a £360 saving on the original price. The same savings are being offered on a Space Grey 16-inch MacBook Pro with matching specs.

Refurbished 16-inch ‌MacBook Pro‌ models have also been spotted in Apple’s online refurb stores in Germany and Japan.

Apple says refurbished 16-inch ‌MacBook Pro‌ models are thoroughly inspected, tested, cleaned, and repackaged with a 96W USB-C power adapter and USB-C cable in the box. In our view, a refurbished ‌MacBook Pro‌ is virtually indistinguishable from a brand new model, so this represents a good opportunity for savings.

Keep in mind that third-party resellers frequently offer better deals than Apple’s refurbished prices, so be sure to shop around.

A refurbished ‌MacBook Pro‌ comes with Apple’s standard one-year warranty effective on the date the notebook is delivered. The warranty can be extended to three years from the refurbished purchase date with AppleCare+ for Mac, which costs £399 for the 16-inch ‌MacBook Pro‌ in the U.K.

(Thanks, Tommy!)

Related Roundup: MacBook Pro
Buyer’s Guide: MacBook Pro (Caution)

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Apple has been offering certified refurbished 16-inch MacBook Pro models in the United States for a couple of weeks now, but today it started selling refurb 16-inch models through its international online stores for the first time since the notebook was released in November 2019. All of the refurbished configurations are discounted by 15 percent compared to the equivalent brand new models.


In the United Kingdom for example, a Silver 16-inch MacBook Pro 2.6GHz 6-core Intel Core i7 is listed for £2,039, down from £2,399, offering a £360 saving on the original price. The same savings are being offered on a Space Grey 16-inch MacBook Pro with matching specs.

Refurbished 16-inch ‌MacBook Pro‌ models have also been spotted in Apple's online refurb stores in Germany and Japan.

Apple says refurbished 16-inch ‌MacBook Pro‌ models are thoroughly inspected, tested, cleaned, and repackaged with a 96W USB-C power adapter and USB-C cable in the box. In our view, a refurbished ‌MacBook Pro‌ is virtually indistinguishable from a brand new model, so this represents a good opportunity for savings.

Keep in mind that third-party resellers frequently offer better deals than Apple's refurbished prices, so be sure to shop around.

A refurbished ‌MacBook Pro‌ comes with Apple's standard one-year warranty effective on the date the notebook is delivered. The warranty can be extended to three years from the refurbished purchase date with AppleCare+ for Mac, which costs £399 for the 16-inch ‌MacBook Pro‌ in the U.K.

(Thanks, Tommy!)

Related Roundup: MacBook Pro
Buyer's Guide: MacBook Pro (Caution)

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Apple’s ‘Back to School’ Event Kicks Off in Japan, Offering Gift Cards With Mac or iPad Purchase

Apple’s annual Back to School event launched in Japan today, with Apple offering students a gift card worth up to 18,000 yen ($165) when making a purchase.

The highest gift card amount is available with the purchase of a MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, iMac Pro, or iMac, with Apple offering 12,000 yen for iPad Pro and iPad Air models.


As noted by Japanese site Mac Otakara, the educational discounts are available for students, faculty, and staff at universities, technical colleges, and vocational schools, as well as parents and those active as PTA officers.

Apple is also providing AppleCare+ to students at a discount of 20 percent, and purchases will come with a free year of Apple TV+. The Back to School promotion will be available from February 6 to April 6.

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Apple's annual Back to School event launched in Japan today, with Apple offering students a gift card worth up to 18,000 yen ($165) when making a purchase.

The highest gift card amount is available with the purchase of a MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, iMac Pro, or iMac, with Apple offering 12,000 yen for iPad Pro and iPad Air models.


As noted by Japanese site Mac Otakara, the educational discounts are available for students, faculty, and staff at universities, technical colleges, and vocational schools, as well as parents and those active as PTA officers.

Apple is also providing AppleCare+ to students at a discount of 20 percent, and purchases will come with a free year of Apple TV+. The Back to School promotion will be available from February 6 to April 6.


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Apple Holding New Year’s Shopping Event in Japan on January 2

Apple today announced that it will be holding a one-day New Year’s shopping event in Japan on Thursday, January 2, offering customers an Apple Store gift card worth up to ¥24,000 with the purchase of select Apple products.


Full details have yet to be revealed, but last year, Apple Store gift card values ranged between ¥3,000 and ¥24,000 for select iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple Watch, Apple TV, and Beats models. New products like the iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, Apple Watch Series 5, and AirPods Pro will likely not qualify.

The event will take place in the Apple Store app and at Apple Stores in Japan. It is similar to Apple’s four-day Black Friday shopping event held in the United States and other countries earlier this year.

Apple used to run a “Lucky Bag” promotion in Japan, offering customers an assorted bag of products and accessories, but it stopped doing so after 2015.

Tag: Japan

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Apple today announced that it will be holding a one-day New Year's shopping event in Japan on Thursday, January 2, offering customers an Apple Store gift card worth up to ¥24,000 with the purchase of select Apple products.


Full details have yet to be revealed, but last year, Apple Store gift card values ranged between ¥3,000 and ¥24,000 for select iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple Watch, Apple TV, and Beats models. New products like the iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, Apple Watch Series 5, and AirPods Pro will likely not qualify.

The event will take place in the Apple Store app and at Apple Stores in Japan. It is similar to Apple's four-day Black Friday shopping event held in the United States and other countries earlier this year.

Apple used to run a "Lucky Bag" promotion in Japan, offering customers an assorted bag of products and accessories, but it stopped doing so after 2015.

Tag: Japan

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Tim Cook Visits Japan to Meet With Developers and Employees

Apple CEO Tim Cook has been touring Tokyo, Japan over the last few days, meeting with local employees, developers, healthcare experts, and others. Cook has been documenting the trip on his Twitter account.


Cook has traveled to several countries for meets and greets during his eight-year tenure as Apple CEO, including France and Germany in September. He has also visited Canada, China, Ireland, Italy, and the United Kingdom.

こんにちは Tokyo! It’s wonderful to be back in Japan! 🇯🇵 #shotoniPhone by Koichi Mitsui pic.twitter.com/Kt5VlyA2VI

— Tim Cook (@tim_cook) December 8, 2019

What a treat to reunite with Masako san and Hikari san, some of our imaginative developers who prove that no matter your age, coding opens up new opportunities to follow your dreams! Wonderful to see you at Apple Omotesando! pic.twitter.com/YAr4M6jSXw

— Tim Cook (@tim_cook) December 8, 2019

Wowed by the many talents of Gen @gen_senden. Thanks for showing me how you bring your creative vision to life in the studio. Loved the izakaya too! Have a great show tomorrow! 楽しかったです! 🏮🎶 pic.twitter.com/Seqzd9Pkme

— Tim Cook (@tim_cook) December 8, 2019

Technology is pushing the boundaries of healthcare, enabling innovations and discoveries at a pace we‘ve never seen before. It’s amazing how Dr. Kimura and experts at Keio University School of Medicine use Apple Watch and CareKit to help patients better understand their health.⌚️ pic.twitter.com/ssqNurYJ6T

— Tim Cook (@tim_cook) December 9, 2019

It’s always wonderful to be with our Apple family in Tokyo! みんな、いつもありがとう! pic.twitter.com/efpJ2M3jXa

— Tim Cook (@tim_cook) December 9, 2019

Coding is one of the most important skills you can learn. Loved celebrating Computer Science Education Week with students from Rikkyo Primary School at Apple Marunouchi! 🇯🇵 #TodayatApple pic.twitter.com/lBv78PRGxk

— Tim Cook (@tim_cook) December 9, 2019

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Apple CEO Tim Cook has been touring Tokyo, Japan over the last few days, meeting with local employees, developers, healthcare experts, and others. Cook has been documenting the trip on his Twitter account.


Cook has traveled to several countries for meets and greets during his eight-year tenure as Apple CEO, including France and Germany in September. He has also visited Canada, China, Ireland, Italy, and the United Kingdom.









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This Morning in Metals: Section 232 auto tariff deadline passes — with no decision

This morning in metals news, trade experts cited by Reuters say the U.S. might have to find another route to impose tariffs on imported automobiles, Japan’s crude steel output dropped in October and U.S. steel prices have started to show some signs of upward momentum. Need buying strategies for steel? Request your two-month free trial…

The post This Morning in Metals: Section 232 auto tariff deadline passes — with no decision appeared first on Steel, Aluminum, Copper, Stainless, Rare Earth, Metal Prices, Forecasting | MetalMiner.

This morning in metals news, trade experts cited by Reuters say the U.S. might have to find another route to impose tariffs on imported automobiles, Japan’s crude steel output dropped in October and U.S. steel prices have started to show some signs of upward momentum. Need buying strategies for steel? Request your two-month free trial...

The post This Morning in Metals: Section 232 auto tariff deadline passes — with no decision appeared first on Steel, Aluminum, Copper, Stainless, Rare Earth, Metal Prices, Forecasting | MetalMiner.