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International Location: Nissan Gets Assurances About Future Competitiveness
The written assurances given by the UK Government to Nissan guaranteeing that its operations in the UK will remain "competitive" are a significant moment in the relationship between government and strategically-important industries in the wake of Brexit.
The UK car industry has undergone a remarkable renaissance in recent years and has grown strongly whilst other parts of the UK's manufacturing sector have struggled to remain competitive.
Nissan's car factory in Sunderland is widely regarded as the most efficient in Europe. Yet Nissan had expressed concerns that Brexit would significantly undermine its cost competitiveness.
80%+ of the cars made at Sunderland head immediately for the Port of Tyne docks, to be exported to the European Union. Toyota and Vauxhall are other UK-located manufacturers with similar levels of EU exports.
As the video below explains, the UK government has felt compelled to offer Nissan assurances that Brexit will not result in worse trading conditions, though quite how it can guarantee this before the Brexit negotiations begin is uncertain.
Those assurances appear to have comforted Nissan who have announced a further expansion at Sunderland, bringing in production currently done in Japan.
But has the UK government set a dangerous precedent? Might other firms and industries seek the same assurances which could, in turn, weaken the UK's negotiating position during the Brexit talks?