Japan to ease auto import screening procedures


The government plans to ease vehicle import screening procedures to encourage the United States to approve Japan’s participation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade source said Tuesday.

In preparatory TPP talks, the United States has emphasized giving priority to supporting its auto industry and requested Japan to reform its tax system and auto emission regulations to lower nontariff barriers to vehicle imports.

While leaving these U.S. requests pending for the actual TPP talks, the government is considering expanding its special treatment for some imported vehicles to help make it easier for foreign automakers to sell their products in Japan.

Although each imported model takes two to three months to clear safety and other checks on samples, the special treatment system for models subject to an annual import limit can shorten the checking period to one month with checks limited to documentary examination.

The government intends to raise the annual import limit for the special treatment system to 5,000 vehicles from 2,000 at present.

Given the United States’ wide auto trade deficit with Japan, the United States is expected to stick to maintaining the present 2.5 percent tariff on passenger car imports and the 25 percent tariff on truck imports at the TPP talks if Japan is allowed to join the talks.

In 2011, Japan’s vehicle exports to the United States totaled about 1.4 million against some 14,000 U.S. vehicles imported into Japan.

  • Saidani

    It’s not “free trade” if the US is going to maintain tariffs. That should be a clue about the validity of the TPP. Only 2 of the 26 provisions actually deal with trade issues. So, if trade isn’t the primary emphasis of the TPP, what is? All Japanese should be asking that question? Unfortunately, the public will never get an answer to that question because the whole thing is super secret at the insistence of the US and its TPP stakeholders; 600 US corporations and lobbyists. Abe should publish the negotiations before even considering joining this corporate takeover.

    • icanpseakenglish

      The public don`t care, in Japan, about anything (the exception is probably any dispute with China) So don`t expect them to be asking any questions, yet alone the right ones. I base this on the general apathy towards the fisheries ( whaling and tuna stocks for example), apathy towards radioactive fallout, and the average lack of knowledge or concern about pretty much anything except dinner.

  • Jay Menna

    Didn’t the US ask for this starting in 1983? Japan is a frustrating friend.