Japanese trade deals confuse UK motorbike owners

BMF News 10 10 18 1

Published on 10 October 2018 by Matt Colley

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Filed under Category: The world of motorcycling

Recent attempts by the Japanese government to establish free trade deals could have significant consequences for UK bike owners.

Signed in July 2018, the EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement will remove common EU external customs tariffs, including the 6% tariff affecting motorcycle imports, from Japanese manufacturers. Following ratification by the European Parliament and the National Diet of Japan, the deal will be implemented over the next five years.

In addition to cheaper motorbikes, EU consumers will also benefit from harmonisation of type approval on product safety as well as emissions standards.

However, British observers have expressed concern as the free trade deal will not apply to the UK due to Brexit removing the UK from deals covering the EU. Original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) located in the EU will enjoy more competitive access to the Japanese market, while UK-based manufacturers will not.

Further confusion exists after Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe recently stated that Japan would welcome Britain with “open arms” to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which includes 11 countries such as Japan, Australia and Canada. The EU-Japan trade deal took over a decade to negotiate, so any trade deal between the UK and Japan could take some time to secure if it happens at all.

This has left UK motorcycle owners not knowing whether Brexit will mean cheaper motorbikes exclusively for consumers in Europe or whether a reduction in tariffs on motorbike imports could soon be agreed between Britain and Japan. We will continue to monitor this story for developments.

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