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This auto is made in USA, with foreign steel. . . . The United Steel Workers and the steel industry are expected to return to contract negotiations in February, hoping for an agreement that would end threats of a nationwide steel strike in August. Two previous efforts failed when union members rejected agreements giving labor-cost concessions to employers.

The situation is even more critical now. General Motors, which buys about 6 percent of all US steel, has warned that if there is no quick settlement, it must consider ordering steel from Britain, Germany, and Japan to be sure of adequate supplies. Other large steel users can be expected to take similar precautions.

Foreign producers ordinarily require US buyers to sign contracts for a year or longer. Historically, steel import figures remain higher after every strike threat or walkout.

The union has been working with the industry to win government curbs on imports. But its president, Lloyd McBride, says that an early contract agreement is ''essential'' as a protection for the US industry and workers.m

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