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Given the importance of trade between the EU and Japan, it is vital that their customs authorities work together to facilitate legitimate trade flows and increase the efficiency of controls. On 30 January 2008, the then European Community and the Government of Japan signed an Agreement on Cooperation and Mutual Administrative Assistance in Customs Matters (CCMAA) See on pages 23-24. The CCMAA, which entered into force on 1 February 2008, provides a legal framework to promote security of the supply chain and facilitate trade for reliable traders. It also aims to improve the fight against fraud and to enhance cooperation on the protection of intellectual property rights (IPR). To oversee implementation of the CCMAA, a Joint Customs Cooperation Committee (JCCC) meets once a year. These meetings bring together customs representatives and experts from both the EU and Japan to discuss practical ways of working together to best implement the agreement.

Latest news:

7th EU-Japan Joint Customs Cooperation Committee (JCCC)

Brussels, 10th June 2015

During the 7th EU-Japan Joint Customs Cooperation Committee on 10 June 2015, top-level customs officials discussed bilateral cooperation and took an important step towards the creation of an IT system which will support automated data exchange between Japanese and EU customs authorities for the mutual recognition of Authorised Economic Operators by signing the Interface Control Document which constitutes the technical specifications for these exchanges.

Businesses in many countries across the world can get certified as an Authorised Economic Operator, or a trusted trader, in order to facilitate access to simplified customs regimes and be granted more favourable treatment when complying with new security requirements. The EU and Japan have mutually recognised their respective 'trusted trader' programmes in respect of security requirements in 2010, and the Mutual Recognition Agreement has been fully implemented since 2011. The digitalisation of customs procedures is crucial in order to ensure that these programmes function properly and effectively.

The EU and Japan also confirmed their willingness to strengthen cooperation between their customs authorities with the objective of identifying and mitigating threats which may affect international trade routes. Facilitating trade by exploring new mechanisms, such as accelerated trade lanes, to support exporters in both the EU and Japan was also a key priority of the meeting. The objective of such innovations is to provide concrete benefits for businesses trading across borders.

Mutual recognition of authorised economic operators

Following the signature of the decision on the mutual recognition of AEOs between the EU and Japan on 24 June 2010 (Signature of the mutual recognition of AEOspdf Choose translations of the previous link  ), the implementation of the mutual recognition of authorised economic operators (AEOs) started on 24 May 2011. Since then, both EU and Japanese AEOs have enjoyed trade facilitation benefits in the partner countries (see AEO communiquépdf Choose translations of the previous link  ). This was preceded by the adoption of the 'specific adequacy decisionpdf Choose translations of the previous link  ' by the European Commission on Japanese data protection on 29 March 2011,  which made the data exchange possible.

Previous developments:

6th EU-Japan Joint Customs Cooperation Committee (JCCC)pdf(186 kB) Choose translations of the previous link   
5th EU-Japan Joint Customs Cooperation Committee (JCCC)pdf(177 kB) Choose translations of the previous link   - See also the press releasepdf(88 kB) Choose translations of the previous link 
4th EU-Japan Joint Customs Cooperation Committee (JCCC)pdf(41 kB) Choose translations of the previous link   
Signature of the mutual recognition of AEOs, 2010 pdf(153 kB) Choose translations of the previous link 
3rd EC-Japan Joint Customs Cooperation Committee (JCCC), 2010 pdf(12 kB) Choose translations of the previous link 
2nd EC-Japan Joint Customs Cooperation Committee (JCCC), 2009pdf(114 kB) Choose translations of the previous link 
1st EC-Japan Joint Customs Cooperation Committee (JCCC), 2008pdf(39 kB) Choose translations of the previous link 

Useful links:

World Customs Organisation
Japan Customs
Taxation and Customs Union Directorate-General — Security cooperation with third countries
EEAS — Japan