Under the auspices of Arbed (Aciéries Réunies de Burbach-Eich-Dudelange, established in 1911), the steel industry developed into the dominant economic sector of Luxembourg. After the First World War, the Grand-Duchy left the Germanic Zollverein and the country’s economic repositioning engendered an embrace of new global markets. In order to better promote its products, Arbed established the sales organization Columeta (Comptoir métallurgique luxembourgeois). This article discusses the Columeta representation in Japan – Columeta Tokyo, founded in 1925 –, providing insight into the cultural mechanics of a European company in Japan during the interwar period. Whereas business went well during the 1920s, the situation became more difficult during the 30s, due to the world economic crisis, the rise of Japanese steel production and increasingly protectionist economic policies. Focusing on trade between Europe and East Asia, this paper contributes to debates on (de)globalisation during the 20s and 30s. Copyright © 2016 Franz Steiner.
World War I