Automobile industry calls for balanced outcome in EU-Japan FTA

Brussels, 4 July 2017 – Ahead of a possible bilateral EU-Japan summit later this week to conclude negotiations on a free trade agreement, the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA) calls on negotiators to ensure a balanced outcome for the European automobile sector.

“Concretely, this means that Japan should resolve the remaining non-tariff measures facing EU vehicle exports. This should at least partially offset the negative impact of increased Japanese imports on the competitiveness of the EU auto industry, caused by the elimination of EU tariffs,” stated ACEA Secretary General, Erik Jonnaert.

Today, EU import duties on passenger cars amount to 10%. Duties on commercial vehicles are 10-22%. ACEA requests that any schedule for the elimination of these tariffs should reflect the status of automobiles as sensitive products and should be a minimum of seven years.

Despite the South Korea free trade agreement being in force for almost six years, certain non-tariff measures have remained unresolved, resulting in significant costs for EU manufacturers.

“It is therefore of vital importance that the EU negotiates a more robust automotive annex in the EU-Japan free trade agreement, which encourages regulatory collaboration, but also allows for issues to be addressed in case of non-compliance,” stated Jonnaert.

ACEA also requests that the agreement should provide rules of origin provisions that are consistent with other EU free trade agreements. Jonnaert: “Any relaxation in rules of origin could have a significant impact on the competitiveness of our industry, and thus on the overall balance of the agreement.”

Despite the current EU import duties, Japan already accounts for the highest import value for cars in the EU (worth 9 billion euros), and is the second highest importer in terms of volumes (representing over 20% of all imports).

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Notes for editors

ACEA represents the 15 Europe-based car, van, truck and bus manufacturers: BMW Group, DAF Trucks, Daimler, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Ford of Europe, Hyundai Motor Europe, Iveco, Jaguar Land Rover, Opel Group, PSA Group, Renault Group, Toyota Motor Europe, Volkswagen Group, Volvo Cars, and Volvo Group. More information can be found on www.acea.be or @ACEA_eu.

Contact
Cara McLaughlin, Communications Director, cm@acea.be, +32 2 738 73 45; +32 485 88 66 47.

About the EU automobile industry

  • 12.6 million people - or 5.7% of the EU employed population - work in the sector.
  • The 3.3 million jobs in automotive manufacturing represent almost 11% of EU manufacturing employment.
  • Motor vehicles account for almost €396 billion in tax contributions in the EU15.
  • The sector is also a key driver of knowledge and innovation, representing Europe's largest private contributor to R&D, with more than €50 billion invested annually.
  • The automobile industry generates a trade surplus of about €90 billion for the EU.