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Apec boosts Japan's products

The Yomiuri Shimbun

Publication Date : 12-09-2012


The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) forum meeting that ended Sunday may help boost sales of Japanese environment-friendly goods as Pacific Rim leaders endorsed a list of 54 items whose import tariffs would be cut to 5 per cent or less by the end of 2015.

As Japan is a leading country in green technology, there are high expectations to promote the nation's eco-friendly products in this field after the summit meeting held in Vladivostok, Russia, issued a declaration that included the list of 54 items. They included solar panels, wind power turbines, large gas turbines generating 5,000 kilowatts or more and liquid filtering apparatuses for water treatment.

Some Apec member countries - particularly emerging economies - impose maximum 20 per cent duties on these products in an effort to curb imports to foster domestic industries.

For example, Russia - considered a promising market for large-scale gas turbines - imposes 10 per cent duties on the product.

State-of-the-art products developed by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. and IHI Corp. enjoy greater energy efficiency, as they do not waste their high-temperature and high-pressure exhaust, but instead reuse it.

The manufacturers, however, have found it difficult to break into the Russian market with this type of product because they tend to become more expensive than their U.S. and European counterparts, mainly due to the yen's high appreciation.

Japanese manufacturers therefore hope that a decrease in Russia's tariff on gas turbines would make their products less expensive, thus making it easier for them to promote these items in its market - even though the price gap with rival products would remain, because products from non-Apec economies could also enjoy the benefit.

Last year's Apec summit meeting in Honolulu included a plan to cut tariffs on environment-related goods in its declaration, based on proposals mainly from Japan. Member countries also agreed to make a list of items subject to the measure during the latest summit meeting.

For the Vladivostok summit, Japan submitted its proposed list of more than 200 items. Leaders eventually endorsed just 54 items, because China and other Southeast Asian nations were cautious about the measure.

However, making a list of eco-friendly goods subject to tariff cuts can be a major step forward for Japan in the days ahead.

Under the national revitalisation strategy the Cabinet endorsed in July, the government aims at creating an environment-related market worth more than 50 trillion yen by 2020 and creating jobs for more than 1.4 million. To this end, Japan will encourage other Apec members to meet the target approved at the Vladivostok summit because the endorsement is not binding, according to government officials.

The government also aims to add some of the items that were not adopted at the meeting to the list - such as light-emitting diode illumination - by 2015, the target year for tariff cuts, the officials said.


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