"Globally, [Japanese] automakers have in total around 300 production sites [and] the core of manufacturing for Japanese automakers has shifted overseas" - JAMA secretary general Yoshihiro Yano

"Globally, [Japanese] automakers have in total around 300 production sites [and] the core of manufacturing for Japanese automakers has shifted overseas" - JAMA secretary general Yoshihiro Yano

Japan's Automobile Manufacturer's Association (JAMA) says it has "high hopes" an early conclusion can be reached in the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between Tokyo and Brussels.

The future of FTAs have been brought into sharp focus by the surprise victory of Republican candidate, Donald Trump in last week's US Presidential elections and doubt as to his enthusiasm for global deals, but Japan and the European Union appear determined to press on with their own agreement.

"In recent years our activities have focused on improving the global business environment," said JAMA secretary general, Yoshihiro Yano at the recent JAMA-CLEPA Business Summit in Venice. "Because automotive is a worldwide and growing industry, we strongly support free trade and investment.

"We have high hopes for [the] early conclusion by the end of his year for the agreement between the EU and Japan – to achieve mobility [which is] not only environmentally friendly and sustainable but also safe and convenient.

"Automakers are working towards the introduction of autonomous driving and our target is zero accidents and zero congestion."

The JAMA secretary general added when his organisation and the European automotive supplier body last met in 2005, the number of vehicles manufactured in Japan was almost the same as those produced overseas.

The latter figure has now dramatically increased however, to reach 18m, while combined numbers with domestically-made cars in Japan total 27m or a roughly 30% increase compared to 2005.

"Globally, [Japanese] automakers have in total around 300 production sites [and] the core of manufacturing for Japanese automakers has shifted overseas," noted Yano. "Japanese purchases of EU-made parts was nearly EUR15bn (US$16.2bn) in 2015 [while] the value worldwide is even greater.

"The relationship between Japanese automakers and European suppliers extend [s] into third countries so partnerships established between Japanese automakers and suppliers is strong and significant.

"The procurement process is always open to suppliers looking for long term relations. Parts are evaluated in terms of their competitiveness, cost, delivery, development, safety, environmental performance and of course, compliance, which is a critical part for Japanese companies."

JAMA, which celebrates its 50th anniversary next year, represents 14 car, truck, bus and motorcycle companies.

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