The EU and Japan’s Economic Partnership Agreement came into effect in February this year. This agreement, the most comprehensive and ambitious so far by the EU, envisions important opportunities for Portuguese exporters, since it’s going to result in the immediate end of custom duties applied to 90% of all European exported products for Japan. For the majority of other products, where footwear is included, there will be a gradual rollback during a transition period until 2020.
Concerning the exported footwear to Japan, the previous quota system, which significantly complicated the Portuguese exports, was excluded with the new agreement. Additionally, the custom duties over footwear that represented 30% were immediately reduced to 21% and will be all gradually eliminated within 10 years.
This agreement only applies to exported goods from Japan and EU from 1 February 2019, therefore it’s not valid for custom duties before that date. The Portuguese exports of goods to Japan will only benefit from the predicted custom duties’ exemption/reduction if the exporters are registered in the Registered Exporter system (REX). In addition, the Portuguese companies should issue a so-called ‘statement on origin’ that describes the products and unequivocally certifies the exporter.
According to World Footwear Yearbook, Japan has been conquering relative importance in the international scene. In the last report from 2017, Japan ascended to the 6th place among the greatest footwear importers worldwide (now rises to the 4th place) and occupies the 4th place regarding consumption. In 2018, the Japanese footwear imports increased 2.8% in volume to 670 million pairs, worth 5.250 billion dollars (3.9% increase).