March 11, 2010

Agreement Reached on Establishing an
International Whole Vehicle Type Approval System
JAMA Set to Pursue Vigorous Support Activities

In response to a Japanese government proposal put forward yesterday during the 150th session of the World Forum for Harmonization of Vehicle Regulations (the UNECE’s WP291) in Geneva, a majority of the forum’s member countries agreed that work should begin on establishing a scheme for international whole vehicle type approval (IWVTA)2 under the United Nations.

The Japanese government’s proposal is aimed at expanding the scope of the existing UNECE 1958 Agreement3, a framework for reciprocal recognition of type approval for motor vehicle parts and equipment, by introducing a new framework that would provide for reciprocal recognition of type approval for whole vehicles. Under the terms of the proposal, a detailed roadmap for the establishment of international whole vehicle type approval would be formulated over the coming year.

Because of the benefits to be gained by implementing IWVTA, including more efficient international vehicle distribution and international harmonization of automotive technical standards in emerging Asian and other key economies, the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association looks forward to pressing ahead with the activities outlined below in preparation for an early introduction of IWVTA.

  • Although JAMA’s IWVTA-related activities to date have been carried out in collaboration with the Japan Automobile Standards Internationalization Center (JASIC), a public/private-sector organization, JAMA will henceforth, in view of international consensus on the aforementioned proposal, be working with Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism to help expedite progress in this regard. Such progress will require, among other tasks, the determination of i.) eligibility criteria for vehicle types, ii.) the definition of specific vehicle types iii.) the specific content of application documents, and iv.) applicable standards.
  • JAMA will also be working together with the International Organization of Motor Vehicle Manufacturers (OICA) on the dual task of integrating the opinions of the global automobile industry on the proposed IWVTA scheme and gaining its support for the content of the new framework once it has been formulated.

1 A working party of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (now officially referred to as the World Forum for Harmonization of Vehicle Regulations) which works primarily on vehicle safety and environmental standards and towards the international harmonization thereof.

2 An international whole vehicle type approval (IWVTA) scheme would enable reciprocal recognition among all participating countries of type approval issued for whole vehicles by any single participating country, thereby eliminating the need to obtain type approval from each individual trading-partner country. IWVTA thus expands on the 1958 Agreement concept.

3 Officially titled “Agreement concerning the adoption of uniform technical prescriptions for wheeled vehicles, equipment and parts which can be fitted and/or be used on wheeled vehicles and the conditions for reciprocal recognition of approvals granted on the basis of these prescriptions,” the 1958 Agreement provides a legal framework for participating countries to agree to common vehicle safety, environmental and other technical standards, thereby enabling them to practice reciprocal recognition of parts/equipment type approval issued by any one country among them in order to ensure international vehicle safety and environmental performance levels and optimize efficiency in international vehicle components distribution. Originally targeting ECE member countries only, the scope of the 1958 Agreement became global in 1995.
Status of participation (February 2010): 47 countries (including Japan) and 1 region

For further information, see attachments herewith.