Japan
Automobile
Manufacturers
Association, Inc.

Issue No. 3, 2010

Address by Mr Toshiyuki Shiga
Chairman, Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association
JAMA Annual Reception / Brussels, 29 June 2010

Thank you for the introduction.

Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen:  Good evening, and welcome.

As JAMA's new Chairman, I would like, first of all, to thank Madam Paserman, Member of the Cabinet under Commission Vice President Tajani; Mr Odano, Japan's Ambassador to the EU Mission; Mr Yokota, Ambassador of Japan to the Kingdom of Belgium; as well as all of you, for joining our reception tonight.

I would also like to convey to all our guests our deepest appreciation for your understanding and support with respect to the activities of the Japanese auto manufacturers in Europe and the work of JAMA's European Office here in Brussels.  It is a pleasure and honor for me to welcome you here this evening.

We are also grateful for the valuable comments we just heard from Ms Paserman concerning the new EU Strategy for Clean and Energy-Efficient Vehicles.  Thank you, Ms Paserman.

In keeping with tradition, I would like now to review the activities of JAMA members in Europe, and the challenges that lie ahead for the automobile industry.

JAMA members contribute to European economies through the production, sales, and research-and-development activities they carry out in the EU.  These EU-based operations aim to supply European markets with vehicles that meet the specific needs of European consumers.

JAMA members have, so far, invested a total of 21.49 billion euros in manufacturing operations in the EU.  Last year, they employed 136,000 people across the EU in their production, R&D, distribution and sales activities.  In addition, JAMA members purchased 9.73 billion euros' worth of EU-made parts in 2009.  In short, JAMA members act as European companies.

Both in Europe and in Japan, the automobile industry makes crucial contributions to the economy and to employment.  JAMA supports initiatives aimed at enhancing the competitiveness of the auto industry in the EU, and I would like to emphasise the respect JAMA members have for the core elements of EU policy concerning the automotive sector.  Specifically, we fully endorse the harmonisation of technical standards and the goals of CARS 21.  CARS 21 is providing a necessary framework to ensure the progress of Better Regulation and the integrated approach.

In tandem with stronger competitiveness, low-carbon road transport is urgently needed in order to combat global warming and conserve resources.  The automobile industry is responding not only by constantly improving the fuel efficiency of conventional vehicles, but also by introducing to the market cutting-edge, eco-friendly vehicles that run on alternative sources of energy.  We all recognise, however, that accelerating the shift to low-carbon transport requires an integrated approach that involves the efforts of all the stakeholders concerned: not just the automakers, but fuel and power suppliers, government, and vehicle users themselves.

The EU's strategy for clean and energy-efficient vehicles is therefore a very positive step, and JAMA stands together with the EU in supporting unified policies that promote the wider use of advanced eco-friendly vehicles.  We intend to work hand-in-hand with the European automobile industry in the effort to achieve low-carbon mobility.

Japan is seeing an increasing amount of discussion about viable strategies for low-carbon road transport.  Meanwhile, the Japanese government and the European Commission are expected to step up their cooperation in addressing this issue.  In our view, enhanced cooperation between Europe and Japan is very much needed in both the technical and economic spheres.

In the area of technical cooperation, the UN World Forum for Harmonisation of Vehicle Regulations (WP29) agreed, in March this year, to pursue a proposal submitted by the Japanese government to establish an International Whole Vehicle Type Approval—or IWVTA—system.  The introduction of IWVTA will enable the automobile industry to benefit from the resulting increased pace of international standards harmonisation.  Consumers will benefit by the greater availability of vehicles that are safer, more eco-friendly, and more affordable.  I therefore look forward to the governments and industries of both Japan and the EU working together towards the introduction of IWVTA.

In the area of economic cooperation, a decision was reached at the EU-Japan Summit in April in Tokyo to conduct a joint examination of the ways to comprehensively strengthen and integrate the Japan-EU economic relationship.  Japan and the EU are addressing areas of mutual interest, including tariff and non-tariff issues.  In parallel, meanwhile, the Japanese and European automobile industries are expanding their cooperative ties at both the company level and the association level.  Reinforcing the economic relationship between the EU and Japan as strategic partners through integration will, I believe, contribute to the sustainable development of the automobile industry worldwide and to improving our competitive strengths.

In conclusion, the Japanese automobile industry aims to cooperate with all relevant players in seeking solutions to the issues facing the auto industry today.  We therefore look forward to an expanded, truly constructive dialogue with the EU and our European counterparts.

Tonight's reception is an opportunity for relaxed, informal exchanges between us—a chance to engage in some enjoyable dialoguing right here, in this wonderful atmosphere.

So I wish all of you a pleasant evening, and thank you for your attention.

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