Japan and the European Union started mutually recognizing their trade security and facilitation programs called Authorized Economic Operator programs Tuesday, according to the Japanese Finance Ministry.
Japan already implemented mutual recognition arrangements of the AEO programs with two other trading partners -- New Zealand since October 2008 and the U.S. since June 2009.
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China, Japan, South Korea Eye Free Trade Pact.
Japan signed MRAs of the AEO programs with New Zealand, the U.S. and the EU in May 2008, June 2009 and June 2010, respectively. Japan also signed MRAs of the AEO programs with Canada in June 2010 and with South Korea on May 20.
Since the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in the U.S., customs administrations around the world have been developing AEO programs in line with the World Customs Organization Framework of Standards to Secure and Facilitate Global Trade.
Under these programs, companies complying with the supply chain security standards are granted AEO status plus speedier and simpler customs procedures.
Japan introduced the AEO program in 2006. About 370 Japanese exporters have been granted AEO status to date, including Toyota Motor, Sony and Nintendo. In the EU to date, about 1,500 companies have been granted AEO status.
New Zealand, the U.S., the EU, Canada and South Korea -- the five trading partners with Japan -- together imported more than one-third of Japan’s exports in 2010 in terms of value, according to the Finance Ministry.
Japan wants to launch and conclude negotiations on MRAs of the AEO programs with other major Asian trading partners, including China, as soon as possible, the Finance Ministry said.