This page provides an overview of the specific provisions agreed by the EU and Japan in their Economic Partnership Agreement (EU-JP EPA).

Rules of Origin

Product specific rules of origin

Two annexes to the EU-JP EPA, ANNEX 3-B "Product specific rules of origin" and ANNEX 3-A "Introductory notes to product specific rules of origin", set out the conditions that must be met for a product to be considered originating in the EU or Japan. Furthermore, Appendix 3-B-1 "Provisions related to certain vehicles and parts of vehicles" provides for alternative product specific rules for certain vehicles and vehicles' parts.


In the EU-JP EPA, the general tolerance rule allows manufacturers to use all prohibited non-originating materials as long as their value does not represent more than 10% of the ex-works price or the free on board price of the product.

This tolerance cannot be used to exceed any threshold of maximum non-originating materials expressed in value listed in the product specific rules. However, and this is a specificity in the EU-Japan agreement, this tolerance can be used in cases where the weight of non-originating materials exceeds the threshold in weight foreseen in the product specific rules, provided that the value of those materials does not exceed 10% of the ex-works price of the final good. Beyond this 10 % in value, those materials need to be originating in the EU or in Japan.

The general tolerance rule does not apply to textiles listed in Chapters 50 to 63 (inclusive). Specific tolerance rules for textiles are included in Notes 6 to 8 of Annex 3-A "Introductory notes of product specific rules of origin".


The EU-JP EPA provides for bilateral and full bilateral cumulation.

Bilateral cumulation allows inputs/materials originating in Japan to be considered as originating in the EU when further processed or incorporated in the EU and exported to Japan (and vice and versa). Only materials deemed originating can benefit from this basic type of bilateral cumulation.

Full bilateral cumulation allows the processing/operations carried out in Japan to be considered as operations carried out in the EU, regardless of whether the processing is sufficient to confer originating status to the materials (and vice and versa).

Duty drawback

Duty drawback is allowed in the EU-JP EPA.

Vessels conditions

The following conditions apply to the vessel or factory ship in order to render the products caught or further processed on board originating (wholly obtained) in the EU or Japan:

The vessel or factory ship must:

a) be registered in a Member State of the European Union or in Japan;
b) fly the flag of a Member State of the European Union or of Japan; and
c) satisfy one of the following requirements:

     (i) it is at least 50 per cent owned by one or more natural persons of a Party; or

     (ii) it is owned by one or more juridical persons:

(A) which have their head office and their main place of business in a Party; and
(B) in which at least 50 per cent of the ownership belongs to natural persons or juridical persons of a Party.

Shipping through a third party: "Non-alteration" rule

A product that is considered originating in the EU or Japan according to the terms of the EU-JP EPA keeps its originating status even if transported via a third country provided the product does not undergo further operations other than unloading, reloading, splitting of consignments or any other operation necessary to preserve it in good condition while remaining under customs supervision. Proof of compliance with this "non-alteration" rule may be given by any means, including transport documents, and has to be provided to the customs authorities of the importing party only upon request.

Origin procedures

Proof of origin

Chapter 3, Section B of the EU-JP EPA sets out the origin procedures related to self-certification of origin and verification by customs authorities.

Importers can claim preferential tariff treatment based on the statement on origin provided by the exporter or based on ‘importer’s knowledge´.

Exporters in the EU and Japan can self-certify that their product is originating by making a statement on origin:
• This statement shall be made on an invoice or on any commercial document using the wording mentioned in Annex 3-D:
• It can be made in any official language of the EU or in Japanese. The importing Party may not request a translation.
• In the EU-JP EPA, the operators need to indicate the origin criteria used in their statement on origin with a code (see in Annex 3-D).
• A statement on origin remains valid for 12 months.
• A statement on origin may apply to multiple shipments:  EU-Japan EPA guidance on statement on origin for multiple shipments of identical products further explains how to use it.

In the EU, exporters need to be registered in the REX system. There is no need to be registered when the value of consignments is below EUR 6000.

‘Importer’s knowledge’ allows the importer to claim preferential tariff treatment based on his own knowledge of the originating status of imported products in the form of supporting documents or records provided by the exporter or manufacturer of the product, which are in the importer’s possession. This information provides valid evidence that the product qualifies as originating.

When an importer makes a claim using his own knowledge, no statement on origin is used and no exporter or producer needs to be identified and take any action pertaining to the preferential origin of goods in the exporting Party.

Importer using ‘importer’s knowledge’ do not need to be registered in the REX database.

The EU-Japan EPA guidance on "importer's knowledge" further explains how to use this procedure.

At the moment of claiming preferential tariff treatment, the agreement requires only a reference to the statement on origin or importer’s knowledge in the import declaration. Additional information is required if the claim is selected for verification.

Verification and denial of preference

EU-Japan EPA has introduced some modifications in comparison to the traditional EU verification system.

Verification of origin may be conducted before or after the release of the goods and may lead to a denial of preferential tariff treatment. The Agreement defines which steps customs authorities of the importing country can take to assure that the claim for preferential treatment is correct. They can start verification by requesting the importer for a statement on origin and some other information related to origin. Subsequently, they can also ask the customs authorities of the exporting country to conduct verification by contacting the exporter and/or by visiting the exporter’s premises. The agreement also lists specific situations when the preferential treatment can be denied.

Please consult the EU-Japan EPA guidance on claim, verification and denial of preferences for the details. 

Exporters are not required to provide confidential business information either to the importer or the importing Party, and the agreement prevents the exporting customs authority from disclosing such information to the importing Party. The verification procedure foresees that preferential tariff treatment cannot be denied if the importer is missing this information, insofar as he has a statement on origin supporting his claim.

This has been clarified in the EU-Japan EPA guidance on confidentiality of information.

In the verification process, customs authorities of the importing party cannot themselves visit exporters' premises or ask them directly for information.