According to a Reuters report, Japan has proposed that developed countries in the World Trade Organisation (WTO) should aim to drop all tariffs on cars and trucks by the end of 2004.

The report says that the proposal emerged at the start of discussions in the WTO’s Doha Round on reducing customs duties and other barriers to trade in goods.

Reuters says that the Japanese proponents of the so-called ‘zero-for-zero’ tariff want it to include passenger cars, trucks and automotive components.

Japan is a huge exporter of vehicles and automotive parts and has a history of trade disputes in automotive products, most notably with the US.

A number of significant international tariffs still affect automotive trade. For example, the EU currently imposes a ‘common external tariff’ duty of 10% on passenger cars entering the EU area and the US imposes a 25% duty on trucks.

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Sources told just-auto that it was highly unlikely that there would be significant movement on tariffs applying to auto industry products in the Doha Round.