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JR group to open railway markets to EU companies

Three companies of the Japan Railway group have promised to open their equipment procurement markets for firms in the European Union in a rare move during Japan-EU negotiations on an economic partnership agreement, according to sources.

During EPA talks, East Japan Railway Co., Central Japan Railway Co. and West Japan Railway Co. promised to liberalize their railway-related markets for train cars, brakes and other railway equipment manufactured by companies in the EU.

The new development will likely lead to significant progress in negotiations on railway equipment on which the EU places importance, and sources say the talks as a whole will make headway. The two sides aim to conclude the talks by the end of 2015.

The JR companies plan to disclose points on which they place importance in tenders, annual business schedules and other information in English on their websites and by other means to encourage foreign companies to participate in their tenders.

According to the Tokyo-based European Business Council, the size of Japan’s railway equipment market in 2012 was worth ¥250 billion with about 90 percent of orders awarded to Japanese companies. The total amount of Japanese company imports of railway equipment was ¥22 billion.


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