Supporting Further Trade and Investment Liberation of the Automotive Sector in the APEC Region

Background of APEC Automotive Dialogue
and JAMA�fs Support

In an effort to contribute trade and investment liberalization in the Asia Pacific region, the Automotive Dialogue (AD), one of the sub-groups under the APEC Committee on Trade and Investment (CTI) has been providing a forum for APEC member economy officials and senior industry representatives to address and reduce impediments in the automotive sector around the region. Throughout the past decade, JAMA has actively contributed to the APEC AD as an active industry representative to the forum.
 
 
 
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The 13th APEC AD Meeting, held in Singapore from 2nd to 4th November 2010, was chaired by Mr. Shigeaki Tanaka, Director of the Automotive Division, Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI). Mr. Yoshihiro Yano, Director General of the JAMA International Department was the Executive Committee (EC) Chair of the meeting. The meeting involved the participation of JAMA�fs team of senior executives and experts along with other government and industry representatives from APEC and guests.

To further improve the liberalization of the region, a range of topics from the status of customs and trade facilitation, harmonization of regulations, Small & Medium Enterprise (SME) development, and market access, open access for advanced technology demonstration vehicles, to the development of green vehicle technologies were deliberated during the 13th APEC AD.

Mr. Kanji Nakayama, JAMA�fs Executive Vice President was also invited to present the industry�es perspectives towards the development of green vehicle technologies. On the deliberation on harmonization of regulations, Mr. Shigeo Yoshizawa, Chairman of JAMA Asia Type Approval and Regulation Experts Group, was invited to present an update on the International Whole Vehicle Type Approval (IWVTA) discussion under the United Nation WP29[1] Informal Group. The sections below summarize the key points of JAMA�fs presentation and some other important proposals of other APEC AD members.

On the Development of Green Vehicle Technologies

To improve automotive environmental performance, Mr. Nakayama confirmed that JAMA welcomes the new development of eco-friendly vehicle technologies, also emphasizing on the importance of vehicle maintenance. The creation of eco-friendly vehicles through innovative new engine technologies is executed in two ways: (1) exhaust gas reduction, and (2) energy saving. Since the turn of this millennium, the automobile industry in Japan has been contributing to the reduction of exhaust gas through improved 3 way catalytic, blow-by gas reduction, exhaust gas re-combustion and other technologies. These have all contributed to the reduction in energy loss. The Executive Vice-President assured APEC members that the automobile industry will continue to strive for technology breakthroughs. Nonetheless, to ensure that investments on such technologies will not be in vain, he has also emphasized the importance of vehicle maintenance and inspection in producing optimal environmental and safety performance for in-use vehicles.

Updates on the International Whole Vehicle Type Approval (IWVTA) and JAMA�fs Calls to Join the Informal Group (IG) Discussion

The IWVTA proposal was first presented by Japan to the United Nation WP29. During which the WP29 endorsed Japan�fs proposal to establish an Informal Group (IG) to develop the common bases needed to implement basic elements of work necessary for establishing the IWVTA, which was targeted to be completed by 2015.

In essence, the IWVTA paper proposes an extension to the international Mutual Recognition of Arrangements (MRA) of Certificates, from automotive parts and systems (e.g. Vehicle emission systems) to the entire vehicle, under the WP29�fs 1958 Agreement and its annexed UNECE regulations.

During the 13th AD, Mr. Yoshizawa presented the latest updates on the WP29�fs IG for IWVTA. According to his presentation, the IG will be developing a Roadmap to materialize IWVTA, which will be submitted to WP29 in November 2011. Understanding that ASEAN is putting in effort to establish an ASEAN MRA for vehicle parts and systems at the moment, which will be further extended to the entire vehicle in future, Mr. Yoshizawa implored ASEAN members to participate in the IWVTA IG�fs discussion and to align their MRA with the international technical harmonization framework in future. He continued to add that the IG is opened to non-Contract Parties of the 1958 Agreement as well, and ASEAN members will have a voice in the drafting of the Roadmap should they participate in the IG.

Progress in Trade Matters

The Working Group leader from the United States for Customs and Trade Facilitation demonstrated the usage of customs WebTR. It provided the latest information on trade-related laws and regulations such as Rules of Origins (ROO) and the tariff of APEC member economies. Information from WebTR is open to the general public and can be downloaded from APEC website.

The Australian leader from the Market Access Working Group also reported some progress in the development of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement among member economies. Several programs under the TPP were also reported. These programs includes, among others, the simplification of business procedures, promotion the regional integration and facilitation Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP). To improve the slow progress on market free assessment, further promotion of TPP has become one of the key issues in the AD Dialogue.

Conclusion and the Next APEC Auto Dialogue

The AD Chairperson has acknowledged member economics (MEs)�fs recommendations, namely, the AD�fs Contributions to the APEC Growth Strategy, the AD�fs Response to the 2009 ABAC Recommendations, and the AD�fs Automotive Rule of Origin Recommendation which will be dispatched to the CTI for further study. Priority issues for AD 2011 were also discussed and agenda items, such as government policies on green and innovative technologies, open access for advanced green technology demonstration vehicles and review on working group activities were proposed. These agenda items will be discussed during the next AD to be chaired by the US will be held in Washington D.C., USA, from 2 to 5 March 2011.
 
 
    
 


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