Update Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) Europa Japan

After a long period of uncertainty it is now clear that the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) Europe Japan will enter into force on February 1, 2019. The full agreement consists out of over 900 pages. Although everything is equally important there are still some things worth mentioning.

The full agreement consists of more than 900 pages. Although everything is equally important, there are a few things worth mentioning.

In which cases are shipments eligible for the reduced rate because of the EPA?

  • Goods sold and shipped on or after 1 February 2019.
  • Freight sailing (somewhere in transit between Japan and the EU).
  • Goods already warehoused in the EU (no duties or other charges have been paid). The original invoice or export date is not relevant.

Only goods that have already been cleared by customs before 1 February 2019 will remain. There will be no refund of duties paid.

What is needed to clear the goods according to EPA rules?

  • An invoice or packing list or a similar product clearly identifying the goods and containing the original declaration of origin. If the declaration is printed on a document with a date (such as an invoice), it is not necessary to mention the date in the declaration itself.
  • For shipments en route or already in the EU, it is permitted to print the declaration on a copy of the original invoice or other document related to the original shipment. In these cases, the declaration must date from the date of printing. Attention! The date in the declaration can never be before 1 February!
  • If products on the invoice do not meet the requirements, they must be indicated as clearly as possible. For example: origin USA.

What must the exporter comply with in order to be authorised to place the declaration?

  • Japanese exporters must have a "Japan Business Number". This number must be included in the declaration.
  • European exporters must have a REX number. This number must also be mentioned in the declaration.
  • For shipments with a value of less than € 6,000 you do not need to register. However, after registration, the number must also be used for low-value shipments.

What is 'Importers' knowledge' with regard to origin?

Importers may issue the declaration of origin if they are satisfied 100% that the goods are of preferential origin. This can be governed by an agreement/declaration of the exporter confirming origin. The proof of origin now lies with the importer, so they have to be very sure that they have ample proof when they are investigated by customs or if the investigation goes back to origin that the information is also available there. In most cases, it is highly recommended to use the declaration on the exporter's invoice or packing list.

What are the rules of origin in this EPA?

These rules differ somewhat from what we are used to in previous trade agreements entered into by the EU. The EU is considered as one country for origin criteria. The exact criteria may differ for different products and there is an extensive list of requirements. This list is included in the EPA.

The applicable criteria all have a separate designation to be mentioned in the Declaration of Origin.

A. Wholly obtained or produced products referred to in Article 3.3 (plants, animals, their products, etc., see 3.3 for the complete list)

B. Products made exclusively from materials originating in the exporting country

C. Products made of non-originating materials as long as they comply with the applicable requirements.

  • For a rule relating to a tariff change
  • For a rule concerning the maximum value of non-originating materials
  • For a rule related to a specific production process
  • For specific parts related to the information in Section 3 of Appendix 3-B-1 (for motor vehicles)

D. For raising as referred to in Article 5

E. For tolerances as referred to in Article 3.6

  • for a product falling within Chapters 1 to 49 or Chapters 64 to 97 of the Harmonized System1 , the value of all the non-originating materials used does not exceed 10% of the ex-works price of the product or the price on board;
  • for a product classified in Chapters 50 to 63 of the Harmonized System, the tolerances specified in Notes 6 to 8 of Annex 3-A shall apply.

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