Association, Inc.

Issue No. 1, 2012

JAMA reiterates to a European Parliament delegation the importance of an EU-Japan Economic Integration Agreement

JAMA Chairman Toshiyuki Shiga and JAMA representatives met with a nine-member delegation from the European Parliament’s Committee on International Trade (INTA), led by the committee’s chair, Vital Moreira MEP, in Tokyo in early October.  Delegation members were in Japan for three days of meetings with key Japanese ministers and senior vice-ministers, members of the Diet, and business and industry associations including JAMA. 

According to the delegation’s subsequent, Internet-posted official report to EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht, delivered at an INTA meeting on 23 November, their visit to Japan was “extremely timely”, in that it took place in tandem with the ongoing, bilateral scoping exercise whose purpose is to pave the way for the launch of EU-Japan negotiations on a “deep and comprehensive” Economic Integration Agreement, or EIA.  At that same meeting and on behalf of Mr Moreira, David Martin MEP noted, among other things, that “Japanese business is clearly very much in favour of an agreement”, that for the car industry “an agreement would be essential if [the Japanese automakers] are to maintain investment in Europe”, and that the delegation’s meeting with JAMA was “positive”.    

For its part, JAMA used the opportunity of the INTA delegation’s visit to communicate its position on promoting an EU-Japan EIA.  Chairman Shiga summarised the wide-ranging activities of Japanese automakers in the European Union and their contributions to the EU economy.  He emphasised the need to start the trade talks between the two economies so as to ensure a level playing field in the EU market, considering that the EU-Korea Free Trade Agreement in effect from July 2011 will put Japanese automakers at a competitive disadvantage.  Mr Shiga also stressed the positive impact an EIA would have on investments and on the economies of both sides.

On the subject of non-tariff barriers—a pivotal element in trade discussions between the EU and Japan—Mr Shiga highlighted Japan’s progressive enforcement of UNECE Regulations in the automotive sector, noting that Japan has so far adopted 31 of the 45 UNECE Regulations governing the certification of passenger cars (M1 category).  He recognised nevertheless that there are some issues still requiring resolution.  Mr Shiga also explained that JAMA is working closely with the European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA) on non-tariff barriers, and this information was well received by delegation members and specifically Mr Moreira, who stated that positive action by Japan in regard to non-tariff issues will be vital to the EIA discussions.

JAMA looks forward to a swift conclusion, in the coming months, of the preliminary scoping exercise so that negotiations on an EU-Japan EIA can then proceed efficiently and effectively, to the satisfaction of both sides.