Nissan sparks Brexit shockwaves through U.K. auto sector

Nissan sparks Brexit shockwaves through U.K. auto sector

Nissan sparks Brexit shockwaves through U.K. auto sector

But on Sunday, when Nissan announced its decision to move X-Trail production out of the United Kingdom, the firm's Europe chairman, Gianluca de Ficchy, said that "the continued uncertainty around the UK's future relationship with the European Union is not helping companies like ours to plan for the future".

Merkel said questions about the backstop could be discussed in the so-called political agreement that accompanies the Brexit deal, adding: "We need to show creativity, we need to listen to each other".

"The government fully recognizes the significance of the European Union market to your presence in Sunderland", wrote business minister Greg Clark to then-CEO of Nissan Carlos Ghosn.

"We will set our ambitions high and vigorously pursue continued access to the European market as an objective in future negotiations".

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The vehicle giant announced in 2016 that it planned to build its X-Trail model in Sunderland, but will now assemble it instead at Nissan's global production hub in Kyushu, Japan. He said that of £61 million worth of grants which had already been approved, only £2.6 million had so far been paid to Nissan.

Nissan's Sunderland plant directly employs 6700 at the site and produces 2000 cars per day, making it one of the largest employers in the region.

"In any circumstance, the government will ensure that the United Kingdom continues to be one of the most competitive locations for automotive and other advanced manufacturing within Europe and globally, including sites such as Sunderland". In 2016, the then-Nissan Chairman Carlos Ghosn said the company would build the new model in the United Kingdom after "assurances" from the government, the BBC said.

But speaking alongside Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Tokyo, she said: "We want to do everything to avoid a no-deal, because that would increase the uncertainty".

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On Feb. 1, an EU-Japan free trade agreement also kicked in, which includes the EU's commitment to removing tariffs of 10 percent on imported Japanese cars, diminishing part of the business case for building in Europe.

Mr Ramsbotham said: "The automotive sector in this country is vitally important and needs to be protected.

Our workforce in Sunderland has our full confidence, and will continue to benefit from the investment planned for Juke and Qashqai", de Ficchy said.

Writing in the Daily Telegraph, he said that "if Tory MPs were asked to go into electoral battle in the next few months, there would be a hole in the heart of our manifesto".

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The so-called backstop is meant to ensure there is no return to a hard border with Ireland, but Brexit supporters fear it will keep Britain tied to the EU's customs rules.

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