- Country or region
- Trade topics
- Negotiations and agreements
The EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) can make life easier for SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises) from both sides to export and import.
Almost all tariffs have been eliminated or reduced. Import requirements have been simplified where possible, including customs procedures, rules of origin or technical regulations.
The agreement’s SME chapter says that the EU and Japan should provide information on access to each other’s market.
Guidance for businesses
- Prepare the customs documents
- Rules of origin
- Pay the correct customs and excise duties
- Follow the rules on patents, innovations, intellectual property, geographical indications (protected food and drink specialties etc.)
- Follow the EU’s technical regulations
- Follow the EU’s rules on animal, plant and food safety
- Bid for a government contract in the EU (public procurement)
- Set up your business in the EU
- EU Trade Helpdesk
- The EU-Japan Centre for Industrial Cooperation
- Enterprise Europe Network
- Japanese website for SMEs from the EU
- Japanese trade – European Commission
Additional information for SMEs
Prepare the customs documents
Rules of origin
Make sure you follow the rules of origin to benefit the most from the EPA. A statement of origin is needed to certify that your goods come from Japan when they enter the EU (or from the EU if the goods enter Japan).
The full rules and procedures are available in the agreement’s rules of origin chapter (Chapter 3 of the EPA).
Pay the correct customs and excise duties
General EU information on taxation at the border.
- Taxation information
- Information on customs procedures (general rules, imports, transit, export)
- EU excise duty laws
- Calculate customs duties
- The EU’s laws and strategy for value added tax rates
- Requirements for paying VAT in the EU’s member countries
Follow the rules on patents, innovations, intellectual property, geographical indications (food and drink specialties, etc.)
- The EU’s intellectual property rights (IPR) strategy
- European Patent Office – search and apply for patents
- European trademark and design registration procedures
- Customs controls against counterfeit and intellectual property violations
- Community plant variety office – provides IPRs for new plant varieties
- Geographical indications for food and agricultural products, wine and spirits
Other sources of information:
- World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) – search for legislation
- World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) and Geographical Indications
- World Trade Organisation (WTO) and Geographical Indications
- Organisation for an International Geographical Indications Network (oriGIn)
Follow the EU’s technical regulations
Goods can only appear on the EU market if a manufacturer makes sure it meets all the EU requirements i.e. - passing a "conformity assessment"
Other regulations include:
The CE marking to a product, A manufacturer puts a CE marking on a product to show that the product meets all the high safety, health, and environmental protection requirements to be sold throughout the European Economic Area (EEA).
Manufacturers, other economic operators, or conformity assessment bodies can use harmonised standards to demonstrate that products, services, or processes comply with relevant EU legislation.
Three European Standards Organisations can develop these standards : CEN, CENELEC, or ETSI. It is created following a request from the European Commission to one of these organisations.
- European Committee for Standardization – CEN
- European Committee for Electrotechnical standardization - CENELEC
- European Telecommunications Standards Institute - ETSI
A notified body is an organisation designated by an EU country to check the conformity of certain products before being placed on the market. The European Commission publishes a list of such notified bodies.
Follow the EU’s rules on animal, plant and food safety
- EU consumer protection for animal and plant products
- The EU’s food safety policies and strategy
- European Food Safety Authority – scientific advice for EU food regulators
- Fruit and vegetables marketing standards
- Health and food safety rules
Bid for a government contract in the EU (public procurement)
- The EU’s public procurement strategy and policies
- TED (Tenders Electronic Daily) - European public procurement tenders
Set up your business in the EU
These are e-government portals that allow service providers to get the information they need and complete administrative procedures online, including setting up a new company.
EU Trade Helpdesk
The EU Trade Helpdesk uses your product’s tariff nomenclature code to provide you information on how to bring your product on the EU market.
- Search for your product’s tariff rates, customs fees, tariff measures, rules of origin, import requirements, specific measures etc.
The EU-Japan Centre for Industrial Cooperation
This venture between the European Commission and the Japanese Government promotes industrial, trade and investment cooperation exchanging experience and know-how between EU and Japanese businesses. This centre is the Japanese member of the Enterprise Europe Network.
- Training schemes and sectoral missions in the EU and Japan; research and development and innovation promotion; policy analysis, EPA Helpdesk
Enterprise Europe Network
This is the world's largest support network for SMEs. It has 3,000 experts across 600 organisations in more than 60 countries. Members include chambers of commerce and industry, technology centres, and research institutes.
Japanese website for SMEs from the EU
This website dedicated for European SMEs includes links to authorities on specific trade issues and a searchable database by customs tariff code to get market access information for the Japanese market.
Japanese trade – European Commission
The DG Trade website provides the trade policy information about Japan. Documents range from text of agreements to statistics.
TARIC, the integrated Tariff of the European Union, is a multilingual database integrating all measures relating to EU customs tariff, commercial and agricultural legislation.
The TARIC includes tariff measures, quotas, agricultural measures, antidumping duties and countervailing duties, import and export prohibitions and restrictions, surveillance of movements of goods at import and export.