One of Hitachi train operated by Keolis in Great Britain, between London and Hashford (High Speed One service). © N.A
With the "almost official" success of Hitachi Rail in Great Britain for the Agility Trains contract (530 trains worth 4.5 billion pounds), the French Federation of Rail Industries (IFF) and the German Verband Der bahnindustrie (VDB) really lost their temper.
The two associations defending rail manufacturers interests are especially worried that the Japanese Hitachi "is also positioned" on other major European tenders, such as Deutsche Bahn's for 60 commuter trains for the S Bahn Hamburg.
Asked about the matter during a press meeting with French journalists, March 20th, Rüdiger Grube, DB CEO, pleaded : "We are only operators..."
But European manufacturers believe there is a "huge imbalance between tmarkts totally opened in the EU, and the completely closed markets in many developed countries like Japan".
Distortion of competition
IFF and the VDB require that "under existing agreements within the WTO, Japanese industrials can not yet benefit from the opportunity to bid for tenders issued by public entities within the European railways or urban transport".
The two federations already alerted the European Commission in July 2010. According to a press release, Brussels "is working on a real instrument of reciprocity" while discussing with the Japanese government "to a free trade agreement". But for now, "Japan still refuses to change its position and its market remains closed to European rail products".
The two Euriopean federations "call their national government to be firm on this issue and repete their support to the European Commission and Unife (EU manufacturers of railway ed) in negotiatiing with Japan on this rail issue".