‘EU ready to scrap tariffs on Japanese car parts’

TOKYO/ PARIS: The EU is ready to propose immediately scrapping import tariffs on most Japanese car parts in trade negotiations now underway, the Nikkei daily said on Friday.
The EU, in return, is pushing for Japan to cut or scrap import tariffs on certain agricultural products, the paper said, putting Tokyo in a tight spot given strong domestic political opposition against opening up these areas to outside competition.
Japanese and European negotiators are continuing talks in Tokyo to reach a broad deal on signing an economic partnership agreement (EPA) in early July, the paper said without citing sources.
Signing an EPA with the EU, which comprises roughly 10 percent of Japan’s total foreign trade, is among key goals of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s “Abenomics” stimulus programs and growth strategy to revive the country’s stagnant economy.
The EU now imposes a tariff of around 3-4 percent on auto parts and a 10 percent tariff on cars imported from Japan. The EU is ready to scrap tariffs for more than 90 percent of auto parts imported from Japan immediately after the EPA takes effect, the Nikkei said.
The two sides remain at loggerheads on how long the EU would take to eliminate tariffs on cars. Japan wants them to be scrapped in seven years, while the EU is pressing to have more than 10 years to phase them out, the paper said.
Japan and the EU have been negotiating the EPA since 2013 to promote bilateral trade and investment by eliminating tariffs and improving investment rules.
Meanwhile, the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association ACEA said that the European car market clocked up robust growth in May, with new car registrations returning almost to pre-crisis levels.
“In May 2017, passenger car registrations across the EU increased by 7.6 percent to 1.387 million units,” ACEA said in a statement.
“In volume terms, this result comes close to May 2007 levels, just before the economic crisis hit the auto industry,” the carmakers said.
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