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Renault-Nissan boss says needs UK Brexit guarantees

Friday, September 30, 2016 - 07:06

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Renault-Nissan will need guarantees from the British government over the impact of Brexit on its business before committing to further investment in Nissan's plant in the northeastern English city of Sunderland, the automaker's boss said Thursday.

[PARIS] Renault-Nissan will need guarantees from the British government over the impact of Brexit on its business before committing to further investment in Nissan's plant in the northeastern English city of Sunderland, the automaker's boss said Thursday.

"If I need to make an investment in the next few months, I cannot wait until the end of the Brexit," Carlos Ghosn said at the Paris car show.

"I'm going to have to make a deal with the UK government," he said, adding that he would be looking for compensation if his company's tax regime became less favourable or cross-border duties had to be paid once Britain left the European Union.

"If these kinds of principles are accepted we can go ahead because it will neutralise some of our concerns," said Mr Ghosn, who is the CEO of the Renault-Nissan alliance.

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"We would like to stay.... We're happy, we have a good plant, which is productive but we cannot stay if the conditions do not justify that we stay," he added.

The Sunderland plant is Nissan's biggest factory in Europe, with a production capacity of around 500,000 cars per year.

The site, which employs 6,700 people, makes Nissan's Juke, Qashqai and Leaf models.

In a separate call for action on Brexit, Japanese carmaker Honda on Thursday urged the British government to take "a fast decision." "Then what we need is free trade," Jean Marc Streng, Honda's general manager for Europe, told the BBC.

"The sooner we have a clear statement on Brexit the better it is for us," he said.

Around 1.59 million cars were manufactured in Britain last year, and some 80 percent of them were exported, most of them to European countries.

Some 800,000 people are employed in the carmaking industry in Britain.

Britain voted to leave the European Union in a historic vote on June 23, though it remains unclear when exactly the government will trigger Article 50, the two-year process for leaving the bloc.

Part of the negotiations will involve Britain's level of access to the European single market and whether it imposes controls on immigration from EU countries.

Fears abound among business leaders of a total divorce between Britain and the European Union, which would have massive implications on trade agreements, and movement of people and goods.

AFP

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