There is a strong and vibrant trade between the European Union (EU) and Japan in a number of industrial goods. In fact more than 75% of all Japanese goods exported to the EU and close to 60% of all European goods exported to Japan are from the following three product groups:
- machinery and appliances: machinery and mechanical appliances, electrical equipment;
- transport equipment: motor and railway vehicles, aircraft and vessels; and
- products of the chemical or allied industries: chemicals and pharmaceutical products.
Bilateral trade in industrial goods is affected by various aspects of trade policy. In addition to import tariffs, so-called non-tariff measures are the most important factors which impede greater trade flows between the EU and Japan. Divergent standards and technical requirements – as well as other regulatory and administrative issues, both at the border and beyond – also limit current trade. They significantly increase the cost of compliance, and therefore of doing business. One of the principal aims of the on-going FTA negotiations is to mutually eliminate these non-tariff barriers to trade.
The European Commission set out its key priorities on industrial policy in the EU in its Communication “For a European Industrial Renaissance”. It also put forward new measures to speed up attainment of the following objectives:
- mainstreaming industrial competitiveness in other policy areas to sustain the competitiveness of the EU economy;
- maximising the potential of the internal market;
- implementing the instruments of regional development in support of innovation, skills, and entrepreneurship;
- promoting access to critical inputs in order to encourage investment;
- facilitating the integration of EU firms in global value chains.
Biocidal Products Regulation (BPR)
Impact of the Biocidal Products Regulation (EU) No 528/2012 of 22 May 2012 on the import of manufactured goods into the EU
Regulation (EU) No 528/2012 on the making available on the market and use of biocidal products (Official Journal L167 of 27 June 2012), known as the Biocidal Products Regulation (BPR), applies since 1 September 2013. This regulation contains provisions which apply not only to biocidal products but also to manufactured goods if they have been treated with or incorporate a biocidal product.
Such manufactured goods are defined as treated articles under Article 3(1) of that Regulation and a specific legal regime apply to them.
In order to avoid a significant impact on trade, economic operators should take benefit of the current period of transition to make goods compliant for export to the EU.
Article 58(2) of the BPR indeed specifies that a treated article can only be placed on the EU market if it has been treated with active substances which have been approved in the EU for that purpose. This provision also applies to and is critically relevant for treated articles imported from third countries. Therefore, third country manufacturers of goods such as IT or electronic equipment, furniture, textiles, automobiles need to be fully aware of the provisions of the Biocidal Products Regulation on treated articles.
Pursuant to Article 94 of the Regulation, there is currently a period of transition but, from 1 March 2017 onwards, non-compliant treated articles will no longer be allowed on the EU market.
For currently non-compliant treated articles, different options are available to manufacturers. In particular, the options are: a) switch to substances approved or under evaluation in the EU; or b) submit either themselves or through a third party, an application for the approval of the active substance used for the treatment or incorporated in the article to the European Chemicals Agency by 1 September 2016.
Given the importance of these provisions, a note on 'Frequently asked questions on treated articles' is available at: http://echa.europa.eu/guidance-documents/guidance-on-biocides-legislation
Should you have further questions on the matter, please contact Commission services at SANTE-BIOCIDES@ec.europa.eu.