Winning Trade

Japan now exports U.S. grain

American automobile and consumer electronics companies have taken their lumps from Japanese competitors in recent years, and now it may be the turn of U.S. grain exporters. Since 1978 such gigantic Japanese trading houses as Mitsui & Co. (1981 sales: $70.8 billion), and Mitsubishi Corp. (1981 sales: $70.3 billion), have quietly bought some two dozen U.S. grain elevators to store crops for export, and now handle an estimated 10% of all American grain sales abroad.

The Japanese have grabbed this business away from traditional exporters like Cargill Inc. and...

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