AHEAD of the bilateral EU-Japan summit to conclude negotiations on a free trade agreement, the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA) called on negotiators to ensure a balanced outcome for the European automobile sector.
“Concretely, this means that Japan should resolve the remaining non-tariff measures facing EU vehicle exports.
This should at least partially offset the negative impact of increased Japanese imports on the competitiveness of the EU auto industry, caused by the elimination of EU tariffs,” stated ACEA Secretary General, Erik Jonnaert.
Today, EU import duties on passenger cars amount to 10 per cent.
Duties on commercial vehicles are 10-22 per cent.
ACEA requests that any schedule for the elimination of these tariffs should reflect the status of automobiles as sensitive products and should be a minimum of seven years.
Despite the South Korea free trade agreement being in force for almost six years, certain non-tariff measures have remained unresolved, resulting in significant costs for EU manufacturers.
“It is therefore of vital importance that the EU negotiates a more robust automotive annex in the EU-Japan free trade agreement, which encourages regulatory collaboration, but also allows for issues to be addressed in case of non-compliance,” stated Jonnaert.
ACEA also requests that the agreement should provide rules of origin provisions that are consistent with other EU free trade agreements.
Jonnaert: “Any relaxation in rules of origin could have a significant impact on the competitiveness of our industry, and thus on the overall balance of the agreement.”
Despite the current EU import duties, Japan already accounts for the highest import value for cars in the EU (worth €9bn), and is the second highest importer in terms of volumes (representing over 20 per cent of all imports).