Association, Inc.

Issue No. 1, 2007

JAMA advocates further harmonisation of automotive technical regulations

On 28 November 2006 JAMA Executive Vice President Kanji Nakayama addressed the high-level conference on "Harmonisation of automotive technical regulations" that was organised in Brussels by the Forum for the Automobile and Society.  Chaired by Malcolm Harbour MEP (West Midlands, UK), conference participation included senior EU Commission officials and other experts as well as representatives from the automobile industry.

JAMA is convinced that global harmonisation of automotive technical regulations will benefit all the stakeholders involved—governments, vehicle manufacturers, and vehicle users.  Accordingly, JAMA has been an active participant in WP29, the World Forum for Harmonisation, so as to promote international harmonisation.

UN/ECE Regulations have been adopted by Japan every year since its accession to the 1958 Agreement in 1998.  Japan has moreover decided to start, on a step-by-step basis, the direct referencing of the UN/ECE Regulations into Japanese domestic law.  The total number of items adopted from those regulations is thus expected to increase.

Nakayama noted that in its December 2005 report, CARS 21 proposed that the EU begin the process of repealing designated EU Directives and replacing them with their corresponding UN/ECE Regulations.  Dr Reinhard Schulte-Braucks, head of the Automotive Industry Unit of the Commission’s Enterprise Directorate-General, acknowledged that efforts are indeed being made to adopt key UN/ECE Regulations and repeal the redundant EU standards.  JAMA believes that this process should continue and looks forward to accelerated technical harmonisation between Europe and Japan on the basis of the UN/ECE Regulations.

Because it views internationally harmonised regulations as benefiting all the stakeholders concerned, JAMA further looks forward to more countries worldwide joining WP 29—a unique global forum in which other Asian countries are also active participants—and the 1958 Agreement.  Nakayama pointed out that Thailand and Malaysia, for example, became newly contracting parties to the 1958 Agreement in June last year, partly as a result of joint initiatives undertaken by the Japanese government and JAMA.

Participation in WP29 and the international harmonisation activities of the United Nations is in fact a matter of great interest now to many countries in the Asian region.  JAMA hopes to encourage increased accession to the 1958 Agreement by Asian nations in cooperation with and with the support of the EU leadership.

Nakayama also noted that the worldwide automobile industry has called for decisive steps with respect to improving and regulating the quality of fuel supplied to the global market, since improved fuel quality is critical to the reduction of vehicle exhaust emissions including CO2.

JAMA, ACEA, and other stakeholders continue to participate in the formulation of specific recommendations on fuel quality improvements, taking into account regulatory levels for vehicle exhaust emissions on a worldwide scale.

Nakayama concluded his remarks to the Forum by reaffirming JAMA’' commitment to continue working jointly with international institutions such as the Commission and the European Parliament towards expanded global harmonisation of automotive technical regulations.