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Brussels, 5 June 2007

Trade facilitation and security: Initialling of the Customs cooperation agreement with the Government of Japan

The Commission welcomes the initialling of the Customs cooperation agreement between the European Community and the Government of Japan, that took place today in Berlin in the margins of the EU-Japan Summit. The agreement aims at simplifying and harmonizing customs procedures for reliable operators and provides the means to fight against customs fraud and to exchange information on mutual assistance matters. This agreement is part of the EU external policy to cooperate on customs matters at international level with its largest trading partners. The European Community has already concluded agreements with the United States, Canada, Korea, Hong Kong, China and India. Both the European Community and Japan authorities have agreed to take the necessary measures towards a formal signature of the agreement in the coming months.

"EU exports to Japan account for 4.1% of EU exports while Japan is the fourth largest source with a 6.2% share of the EU import market. This represents an average of around €15 billion trade exchanges each year" said László Kovács, Commissioner responsible for Taxation and Customs Union. "We therefore need to strengthen our customs cooperation with Japan in order to promote trade facilitation for reliable traders, to improve the fight against fraud and to provide protection of Intellectual Property Rights."

Background information

With a share of 4.1% (2005) of the EU exports, Japan is the EU's fifth largest export market after the USA, Switzerland, Russia and China. Japan accounts for 7.36% of EU agricultural exports, 5.46% of textile, 5.39% of chemical products, 4.21% of transport materials. With a 6.2% (2005) share of the EU import market, Japan is the fourth largest source of imports into the EU after the USA, China and Russia. Imports from Japan are mainly in the sectors of machinery and transport equipment (45.1%) and chemical products (15.4%). Taking into account factors such as the exchange rate and the Japanese production in China, Japan still remains overall our second trade partner after the USA.

Europe is equally a very important market for Japan. In 2004, the EU ranked 3rd place in Japan's imports and 2nd in its exports. In 2004, EU imports and exports of services from and to Japan were 10.2 and 18.9 billion €.

Further information on Customs cooperation agreements concluded with other trading partners can be found at:

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