ACEA on the launch of Free Trade Agreement negotiations between the EU and Japan

Brussels,16 April 2013 – The European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA) notes the official start of trade negotiations with Japan yesterday. This is an important first step. ACEA members are global players who support multilateral and bilateral efforts to liberalise trade in automobiles. The European automobile industry strongly favours FTAs that are balanced and create a level playing field for European exporters. ACEA will judge the negotiations with Japan in that light.

The Commission has indicated that, in accordance with the negotiating mandate granted by the Member States, it will review one year after the start of the negotiations the implementation of the commitment given by Japan in last year’s Scoping Exercise to eliminate NTBs, notably in the automotive sector. Mr De Gucht has said that the Commission will ‘pull the plug’ on the negotiations if progress in not fully satisfactory. 

ACEA welcomes these provisions and proposes that the EU should set specific targets for what can be reasonably achieved during the first year of negotiations. These targets will provide a yardstick against which to measure the progress of the negotiations.

These targets are challenging, but they are not unrealistic. Their attainment would show Japan’s resolve to achieve the ultimate objective of the negotiations that a vehicle manufactured and type approved in the EU should be accepted in Japan without further testing or modification.

ACEA recommends, among others, the following targets for the first year:

  1. Japan’s further alignment of its unique national technical requirements and certification procedures with international UN Regulations
  2. Specific measures to start the process of removing the discriminatory fiscal privileges currently enjoyed by kei-cars
  3. Generic exemption from customs inspection of automotive safety devices activated by compressed hydrogen
  4. Approval of high pressure gas tanks for automobile use which conform to foreign standards (including, but not limited to, EU standards and ISO standards)
  5. Relaxing of the zoning regulations for the establishment of automobile service shops ACEA will follow the negotiations closely to ensure that they lead to a balanced outcome which provides new opportunities for European automobile exports in Japan and jobs in the EU.

About ACEA

  • The European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA) represents the 16 major Europe-based car, van, truck and bus makers: BMW Group, DAF Trucks, Daimler Truck, Ferrari, Ford of Europe, Honda Motor Europe, Hyundai Motor Europe, Iveco Group, Jaguar Land Rover, Mercedes-Benz, Renault Group, Stellantis, Toyota Motor Europe, Volkswagen Group, Volvo Cars, and Volvo Group.
  • Visit for more information about ACEA, and follow us on or
  • Contact: Cara McLaughlin, Communications Director,, +32 485 88 66 47.

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About the EU automobile industry

  • 13 million Europeans work in the auto industry (directly and indirectly), accounting for 7% of all EU jobs.
  • 11.5% of EU manufacturing jobs – some 3.4 million – are in the automotive sector.
  • Motor vehicles are responsible for €374.6 billion of tax revenue for governments across key European markets.
  • The automobile industry generates a trade surplus of €79.5 billion for the EU.
  • The turnover generated by the auto industry represents more than 8% of the EU’s GDP.
  • Investing €58.8 billion in R&D annually, the automotive sector is Europe’s largest private contributor to innovation, accounting for 32% of total EU spending.
Content type Press release
Vehicle types All vehicles
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