Nissan bosses have vowed to work with the Government to secure the long-term future of the firm’s Sunderland plant after Brexit.
Britain has set out proposals to ensure that goods - such as cars - currently approved for sale across the UK and EU can continue to be traded after Brexit.
The plans published by Brexit Secretary David Davis were welcomed by business leaders as an improvement on EU proposals which would require separate regulatory processes on either side of the Channel from the day after UK withdrawal.
Under the UK plan, approvals granted for products to be sold across the EU should remain valid, and arrangements should be made to ensure continued oversight of the safety and regulatory compliance of goods such as medicines.
Nissan, which employs almost 6,70 people directly on Wearside and supports more than 20,000 more in its supply chain, exports 70 per cent of its Sunderland output to Europe (including Russia.)
A spokesman said: “We will continue to work with the British Government to ensure the company’s long-term success and investment in the UK.”
We will continue to work with the British Government to ensure the company’s long-term success and investment in the UK.Nissan spokesman
Mr Davis said the UK was now ready to begin a “formal dialogue” on elements of the future UK-EU trade relationship, such as customs.
The new position paper comes ahead of the third round of formal negotiations in the Belgian capital next week, and is expected to be followed in the coming days by further documents on issues like post-Brexit judicial co-operation, dispute resolution and data protection.
The Department for Exiting the EU (DExEU) said the UK’s proposals were designed to smooth the way to “the freest and most frictionless trade possible” under a new partnership with the EU.
But Liberal Democrat Brexit spokesman Tom Brake dismissed them as a “fantasy wishlist”, adding: “Nothing would provide businesses and consumers with more certainty than staying in the single market and customs union.
“That is the option this Government should be pursuing if it was serious about protecting jobs and free trade.”
Britain’s proposals envisage all goods placed on the market before Brexit day continuing to be sold in the UK and EU without extra restrictions or requirements after withdrawal, and state that the same principle should apply to services relating to these goods.
With EU exports to the UK totalling more than £250billion in 2016, DExEU argued that this approach would avoid “unnecessary disruption” during the move to new long-term arrangements.
A “narrow” approach to goods like agricultural products or food would risk “significant legal uncertainty and potential disruption for businesses and consumers both in the UK and the EU”, the paper warned.
Mr Davis said: “We have already begun to set out what we would like to see from a future relationship on issues such as customs and are ready to begin a formal dialogue on this and other issues.”
European Commission spokesman Alexander Winterstein said the publication of position papers was “a positive step towards now really starting the process of negotiations”.
But he said any early move to talks on trade would have to be agreed by the 27 remaining EU states, adding: “There is a very clear structure in place, set by the EU27, about how these talks should be sequenced and that is exactly what we think should be happening now.
“The important thing is to realise that the clock is ticking, that we have no time to lose and that we need to get on with it.”