EU agrees to free trade talks with Japan; autos likely to be thorny issue


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talk, talk, talk...dream on or drop Auto and Rice and Japan may show some understanding on FTA :(

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He was confident that Tokyo was ready to open up its market

Famous last words, and the funniest thing I've heard in a long time. Good luck with those NTBs! All of them. Every single one of them.

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talk, talk, talk...dream on or drop Auto and Rice and Japan may show some understanding on FTA :(

You think American and European cars are gonna sell like hotcakes in Japan? You need to get in touch with reality sir. It seems like you have a whiner personality.

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Like Japan really needs another source of cheap products? How many jobs will be lost in Japan if this is approved?

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

Open up produce, fruits, and cheese please.

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Japan is obviously eager to push this seeing South Korea already entered into an EPA pact with EU and enjoying their car exports rising with lower tariffs and consequently better pricing. EU despite resistance from French and Italian auto industries also somewhat feel the need to push this now threatened by the possibility for Japan to join the TPP framework led by the US. All in all appears at this point that the EU EPA may be a better and much safer deal for Japan Inc as the next step and hope Japan can play the cards right in their talks with both the US and EU.

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The strong Japanese yen makes it expensive for Japanese firms to export products to Europe. Company such as Toyota manufacturers 67 percent of its cars sold in Europe including the Yaris and Auris hatchback. In the future, Toyota wants to boost the local production rate to 75 percent for vehicles it sells in Europe.

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EU is in for a BIG surprise. Japan will not even let the latest diesel technology enter their market. One way street is right.

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Sherman...I wouldn't call it one way street, the imports has over 8 percent of the car market in Japan, led by German manufacturers, VW, BMW, Audi, & Benz.

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It would be great free trade with everyone but china.

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Not going to happen. Dream on, Europe and farewell to Peugeot. I was never a fan anyway. You can join Olds, AMC, DeLorean, etc., in just being a fond memory or an old junker.

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No way will Japan open up to European car makers. Unfortunately it will want the "free trade agreement" to be in conjunction with increased barriers to foreign car manufacturers importing their models into Japan.

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Love to read the "so called" non-tariff barriers they had listed.

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Loved this article written as a response of the so called "non-tariff barriers" by Magna, a major car parts manufacturer from Canada.


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As if Japan would ever reciprocate,, Youre flogging a dead horse Europe.

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Japan can not compete with Europe or Korea due to the high yen.

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YuriOtaniNov. 30, 2012 - 12:54PM JST

Japan can not compete with Europe or Korea due to the high yen.

Japan cannot compete because the Japanese worker is unproductive in comparison to his European and Korean co-worker. Japan was number 23 in the last table of world productivity.

Next year, after Abe has flushed the value of the Yen down the toilet, what excuse are you going to use, Japan cannot compete with Europe or Korea because their intestines are longer?

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SamuraiBlueNov. 30, 2012 - 11:41AM JST

Love to read the "so called" non-tariff barriers they had listed.


Enjoy the read.

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What a farce. Bottom line as same as the US, EU demands to acknowledge every and all EU standards. Talk about shotgun weddings. Europe has the same amount of standards as Japan and Japanese products does just fine jumping all the hoops the EU regulatory bodies places. Do the same as Japanese exporters do to get their products sold in you own nation and stop whining. Such a baby.

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I welcome a FTA, but remain skeptical that Japan will truly open up its market.

@YuriOtani: Free trade is not about "cheap products," but rather about open and direct competition. It allows the companies who are best at what they do thrive and survive, while non-performing companies either have to get efficient, innovate more, and kick ass in the free market...or go the same route that the over-priced and dingy coffee shops took when Starbucks steamrolled into Japan.

Starbucks didn't just bring down coffee prices by eliminating the protectionist price fixing that went on before, but they also showed Japan that there was more to coffee than just "blend" or "American." They offered options, new products, and a new concept, and they did it faster, cheaper and more efficiently than the existing competition. This is what FTAs are about: shaking up a complacent and stagnant marketplace so that consumers and macroeconomies benefit.

And the fact that those old coffee shops mostly went out of business wasn't due to market scale, it was because they weren't successful at reinventing and rebranding. And, as is often the case in Japan when people say, "oh, that would never work in Japan," Starbucks and other service concepts DO work because it turns out that Japanese are not special or weird or different. They are people. And competition gave them new choices (indeed, the ability to even have a choice) and a new experience that worked.

The bitter truth is, Japan needs to learn how to compete in a free market place or it will become the poor cousin to other Asian economies that are just champing at the bit to take up the slack.

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Auhh, Mikey Starbucks actually pulled up prices of coffee not bring it down. Dotor still sells 200 yen a cup while Starbucks charges you 280~300 yen.

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I like the journalists phrasing of the first sentence, as if Japan doesn't have a struggling car industry?????? The only reason it isn't struggling more is this protectionism and it's false economics.

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I do not think that Japan has much to fear from foreign cars. Japanese cars will still be cheap compared to the competition (as they are in the West) and more reliable.

Car buyers are usually very loyal to their domestic car industry, if one exists. On the streets of France, 4 out of 5 cars are French, despite them not being very good. Same in the USA, where the percentage is higher. Germans also drive German cars.

In Japan, the biggest threat is at the top end of the market, where a BMW might become much more affordible compared to a local upmarket brand like a Toyota Lexus.

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@SamuraiBlue: Nope. Prices dropped a ton after Starbucks moved into town. With the exception of Dotour, 20 years ago we would go for some "cheap" coffee at the Haagen Daaz that used to be on Omotesando dori...at 600 yen a cup, no refills, of "blend." The same would cost about ¥1,200 at a coffee house in Shinjyuku. I actually remember that price as I had to pay ¥2,400 when my ex dumped me over coffee there. Lol

Anyway, not sure where you used to drink coffee, but the coffee houses were all hugely expensive in the city.

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Back on topic please.

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Mike I really do not know what kind of coffee house you were going but it has nothing to do with any of the mentioned above.

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Ah_so: Can you back up your statement saying that the French cars are not very good? Or is it just a personal judgment?

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Germans drive German car because they are German and because they make the best cars, just like Swiss people with watches and US people with BBQ.

Any FTA will just boost them to be even better.

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Harley Davidson is a niche player. The Japanese tolerate foreigners if they're niche players, because their market segment is so narrow and restricted that their products will never pose a threat to the mainstream market.

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FTA will hurt some of businesses in both sides and some will benefit from that. If Japan does not try FTA with other country and then some of Japanese companies will lose opportunity. Since globalization was started rich and poor is becoming more contrast in both sides of the world. I hate Globalization and Free Trade Agreement but you can't go back to pre-globalization era now. It's too late and moving forward with protective idea for next level.

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