Business leaders call for Brexit deal after Nissan warning over Sunderland plant

Business leaders have urged the Government to reach agreement with the EU after the latest warning from Nissan about the impact of a 'no-deal' Brexit on its Sunderland plant

Thursday, 4th October 2018, 3:55 pm
Updated Friday, 5th October 2018, 4:10 pm
The production line at Nissan's Sunderland plant

The firm issued a statement today saying a change to World Trading Organisation rules would have 'serious implications for British industry' and calling on UK and EU negotiators to work together.

Paul Butler, CEO of the North East Automotive Alliance, said Brexit uncertainty was adding to a number of problems facing the industry.

Paul Butler

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"These are indeed challenging times for the UK automotive sector - the impact of the new emissions tests, the declining diesel sales which has resulted in an acceleration towards electrification and the trade negotiations mean we are facing unprecedented challenges," he said.

"Multinational companies set up operations to serve key markets, so it’s no surprise that Europe accounts for more than 50% of all UK car exports. We also operate global just in time supply chains.

"Therefore, the threat and impact of costly WTO tariffs, the imposition of customs checks, red tape and fees on goods that currently move friction-free across borders is a serious threat to our competitiveness.

"The Nissan Sunderland plant is the UK’s largest automotive plant, producing 30% of all UK passenger vehicles. This is supported by a truly globally competitive supply chain, which combined accounts for 30,000 direct employees.

Jonathan Walker

"It’s clear that we must encourage the UK Government and the EU negotiators to work towards a deal that is beneficial to all parties and secures free and frictionless trade in order that we remain globally competitive.

"The UK automotive sector is the most productive in Europe. If we are given a level playing field to compete I have no doubt the UK automotive sector and our region will continue to prosper.”

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Assistant director of policy Jonathan Walker said: "The need to maintain free and frictionless trade with our nearest and biggest export market is essential to ensure the continued success of some of our most important industries and the jobs they create.

Natasha McDonough

"This warning comes as no surprise and adds further weight to concerns that have been voiced across the business community in recent months.

"Time is running out for Government to sit up and take notice of those who know the most about international trade. Businesses need clarity and the two sides negotiating Brexit have to work together to get a deal with the utmost urgency."

Getting Brexit right was vital for future generations,she said: "As a city we’re proactively working to boost our STEM skills levels, our transport infrastructure and a lot of this comes from the needs and development of Nissan within the city.

"This warning, therefore, has a tremendous impact on the entire supply chain in the North East to Nissan.

"It’s the economic impact on future generations to consider her,e as well as the immediate impact on our city and region."