ACEA, the European automobile industry’s trade association, takes due note of the fact that the EU has not given unconditional green light for a free trade agreement (FTA) with Japan, today, as the merits, conditions and consequences of such an agreement are not sufficiently established and assessed at present. The ‘scoping exercise’, that was ordered by the EU-Japan Summit in Brussels, should cover all relevant fields and its outcome must be thoroughly analysed before taking any further steps.
“ACEA supports trade liberalisation first and foremost within the multilateral framework of the WTO, particularly with regard to the elimination of tariffs”, said Ivan Hodac, Secretary General of ACEA. “To facilitate market access around the globe it is, furthermore, essential to speed up the further harmonisation of vehicle standards and certification. ACEA welcomes the Japanese initiative to launch a discussion in Geneva of a system for International Whole Vehicle Type Approval.”
As regards the scoping exercise, this task should include the full identification of non-tariff barriers to trade as well as of the firm commitment to eliminate them and take any other relevant measures to achieve the opening of the Japanese market. Non-tariff barriers have led foreign car manufacturers to have a market share of less than 5% in the world’s third largest economy. The scoping exercise must also involve a complete assessment of the impact of a trade agreement on manufacturing and employment in the EU.
Hodac: “Importantly, there cannot be an automatic opening of FTA negotiations, regardless of the outcome of the exercise. Its findings must be thoroughly analysed.”.
The European automotive industry is key to the strength and competitiveness of Europe. The ACEA members are BMW Group, DAF Trucks, Daimler, FIAT S.p.A., Ford of Europe, General Motors Europe, Jaguar Land Rover, MAN Truck & Bus, Porsche, PSA Peugeot Citroën, Renault Group, Scania, Toyota Motor Europe, Volkswagen Group, Volvo Car Corporation, Volvo Group. They provide direct employment to more than 2.3 million people and indirectly support another 10 million jobs. Annually, ACEA members invest over €26 billion in R&D, or 5% of turnover.
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