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Nissan boss ‘confident’ after Brexit talks with Theresa May

5 years ago

NISSAN boss Carlos Ghosn has said he is confident the UK will remain a ‘competitive place to do business’, following crunch talks on Brexit with Theresa May.

The Prime Minister met Mr Ghosn in Number 10 amid concerns about the future of the car giant’s plant in Sunderland after the UK leaves the European Union.

He has suggested the company will halt new investment in the factory unless it can agree a compensation deal with the Government for any adverse financial impact from the UK’s decision to withdraw from the EU.

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Following the talks, Ghosn said: ‘We want to ensure that this high-performing, high-employment factory remains competitive globally and continues to deliver for our business and for Britain.

‘Following our productive meeting, I am confident the government will continue to ensure the UK remains a competitive place to do business. I look forward to continued positive collaboration between Nissan and the UK government.’

Mrs May said: ‘This Government is committed to creating and supporting the right conditions for the automotive industry to go from strength to strength in the UK, now and into the future.’

Mr Ghosn was driven into Downing Street for the meeting in a black Nissan Qashqai – a model made at the Sunderland factory.

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Concerns over the fate of the plant had been sparked after Ghosn warned that ‘important decisions will not be made in the dark’ earlier this year.

Keeping Nissan in the UK is regarded as vital to Mrs May’s hopes for a successful Brexit, and it was understood she would use the Downing Street meeting to explore what assurances the company is seeking.

The Sunderland plant, which has been active since 1986, employs almost 7,000 people producing around 2,000 cars a day.

Nissan is part-owned by French manufacturer Renault, raising concerns that production could be moved to France to avoid any tariffs which could be introduced on exports to the EU if the UK leaves the single market in a so-called ‘hard Brexit’.

Following the talks, Ghosn said: ‘Since Mrs May’s appointment, we have maintained a clear dialogue with the UK government during this challenging time.

‘It was my pleasure to be here today for a positive meeting with the Prime Minister and key members of her Government and I welcome their commitment to the development of an industrial strategy for Britain.

‘The Nissan factory opened in Sunderland 30 years ago and the British government have been strong supporters of our business ever since. Not just in the north of England, but also at our design centre in London, our research and development centre in Cranfield and our sales and marketing HQ in Rickmansworth.

‘We have made significant investments at our factory in Sunderland over the years and today it ranks as one of the world’s most successful manufacturing plants.

‘Our 7,000 employees in Sunderland build 2,000 cars a day – 80 per cent of which are exported to more than 130 countries around the world. We want to ensure that this high-performing, high-employment factory remains competitive globally and continues to deliver for our business and for Britain.

‘Following our productive meeting, I am confident the Government will continue to ensure the UK remains a competitive place to do business. I look forward to continued positive collaboration between Nissan and the UK Government.’

Mrs May said: ‘Our automotive industry is a great British success story and Nissan has been at the heart of it.

‘This Government is committed to creating and supporting the right conditions for the automotive industry to go from strength to strength in the UK, now and into the future.

‘That’s why I was pleased to have met with Mr Ghosn today to discuss our shared belief that Britain remains an outward-looking, world-leading nation in which to do business.’

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