THE boss of Nissan has said future decisions about the car giant’s Sunderland plant will depend on the outcome of Brexit negotiations.
But Carlos Ghosn said he was ‘reasonably optimistic’ that the UK will continue to be a key partner of the European Union.
He said ‘most companies’ will be waiting to see what happens before making decisions about investments.
Ghosn told the BBC: ‘I don’t think today you can talk about any impact before we see what is the new status of the UK. The question of Sunderland – Sunderland is a plant which is a European plant based in the UK.
‘Most of the production out of Sunderland is exported to Europe. So obviously for us, the relationship which is going to prevail between the UK and Europe is very important.
‘So the future investment decisions are going to depend a lot into … okay, the UK is out of Europe. Fine. But what’s going to be the new status?
‘So you’re going to see a period where most companies are going to be waiting to see what’s going to be the new status.’
He added: ‘We’re reasonably optimistic that at the end of the day common sense is going to prevail from both sides, that as many people said, UK will still continue to be a big partner of the European community.’
The Japanese manufacturer employs 6,700 people at its Sunderland plant, the most productive in Europe, with another 30,000 in the supply chain employed elsewhere in the region.
A spokesman for the North East Chamber of Commerce said: ‘It will be a decision for Nissan to take but what we want to see is action from government during the Brexit negotiations to ensure the north-east does not lose out as a result of any new arrangements.
‘Nissan is a huge player in the region and makes up a huge part of our exports and we need to see long-term investor confidence in the north-east and to be seen as a desirable location for exporters.
‘What the government can do is help to support business confidence in the region to ensure we are able to invest in skills.’
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