Global Businesses Bracing for Mixed Impacts from Japan Quake

Many businesses around the world are feeling aftershocks from the devastating earthquake in Japan, while for some others the disaster may be a boon. U.S. and French firms that depend on Japanese-made parts are suffering due to supply disruptions, while energy and food companies in China, Germany and Russia are hoping to see increasing exports to Japan.

According to a report released by the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency on Wednesday, the disaster is affecting U.S. industries such as automobiles, IT and airlines that are heavily reliant on parts from Japan. General Motors plant in Louisiana has suspended production of pickup trucks since March 21, while Boeing is also struggling as it imports one third of the parts for its 787 aircraft from the island country.

Texas Instruments, the No. 2 chipmaker in the U.S., suffered a direct hit as its plant in Ibaraki Prefecture, Japan was damaged in the disaster. Apple and Intel are also likely to face disruptions in production due to parts shortages.

In France, auto and luxury brands are feeling the impact, with carmakers including Renault facing production stoppages if the disruptions in the supply of parts continue.

By contrast, China expects its steel exports to rise as Japanese steelmakers will need some time to fully recover and reconstruction from the disaster will boost demand. Exports of agricultural produce are also expected to rise as the quake has dealt a blow to Japan's farming and fishing infrastructure.

Germany, Russia and Spain, meanwhile, hope to see increased exports in the energy sector. Russia's state-run Gazprom plans to offer 100,000 tons of liquefied natural gas at a discounted price to Japan in April and May, while Germany and Spain may benefit in the renewable energies industry.

englishnews@chosun.com / Mar. 31, 2011 10:12 KST