Auto industry reacts to conclusion of EU-Japan free trade agreement

Brussels, 18 July 2018 – The members of the European Automobile Manufacturers' Association (ACEA) are global companies and international trade is an important pillar of the EU automobile industry’s competitiveness, generating a trade surplus of more than €90 billion in 2017.

Hence, ACEA supports trade agreements that are free and fair, providing mutual benefits. The fact that the EU and Japan signed a free trade agreement (FTA) yesterday is a positive signal for international trade.

ACEA takes note that the FTA includes a seven-year tariff phase out for all automobiles as well as an Automotive Annex, designed to ensure continued regulatory convergence into the future as well as to provide certain protections against sudden and substantial increases of imports, or the imposition of non-tariff measures by Japan.

The issue of the imbalance in the taxation of subcompact cars, known as ‘kei’ cars, could not be addressed in the context of the FTA negotiations. Nonetheless, ACEA expects that this will form part of the overhaul of the taxation system planned for 2019.

ACEA recognises the progress made by Japan in harmonising its vehicle standards with international UN Regulations, so that an EU type-approved vehicle can be sold in Japan without the need for further costly modification, and trusts that this commitment will continue for future regulations.


Notes for editors

  • ACEA represents the 15 major Europe-based car, van, truck and bus manufacturers: BMW Group, DAF Trucks, Daimler, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Ford of Europe, Honda Motor Europe, Hyundai Motor Europe, Iveco, Jaguar Land Rover, PSA Group, Renault Group, Toyota Motor Europe, Volkswagen Group, Volvo Cars, and Volvo Group.
  • More information can be found on or @ACEA_eu.
  • Contact: Cara McLaughlin, Communications Director,, +32 2 738 73 45 or +32 485 88 66 47.

About the EU automobile industry

  • 13.3 million people – or 6.1% of the EU employed population – work directly and indirectly in the sector.
  • The 3.4 million jobs in automotive manufacturing represent over 11% of total EU manufacturing employment.
  • Motor vehicles account for some €413 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 €54 billion invested annually.
  • The automobile industry generates a trade surplus of €90.3 billion for the EU.