Internationalization of automobile standards and the certification system
Amid consumer calls for unified automobile standards and certification systems worldwide for safety purposes, the United States has proposed a new set of rules, while Europe has opted, in principle, to maintain the existing United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (ECE). Japan, on the other hand, is exploring a way of internationalizing the systems while participating in the EU accord. Under the current certification system, adopted by Japan and Europe, manufacturers obtain certification from the government as a formality each time a new model is manufactured. The United States, however, has a self-certification system, in which anyone can manufacture automobiles as long as they meet government standards. Many therefore question the practicality of setting fresh international rules while there remain such wide differences between existing systems. Japan plans to join the ECE accord, respecting for its experience in setting standards, then reform the system in a direction that would reflect the intentions of Japan and the United States.
This international agreement of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) was established in June 1994 at the initiative of the United States. The objective was to adjust competitive conditions in the shipbuilding industry. The accord defines rules for eliminating government subsidies and preventing dumping by foreign companies to establish healthy competition and maintain order in the international shipbuilding market. The accord was signed by the EU, South Korea, and Norway in December 1995, and by Japan in June 1996. The United States has yet to ratify it due to congressional opposition. Therefore, the accord has yet to take effect.