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Japanese Ambassador Gets Tough on Brexit

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Japanese Gentleman's Agreement

Brexit is pretty much the topic that won’t go away when it comes to discussions about the global economy. While the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union, not a lot of things have actually happened to more clearly define what that means for the British economy and its ties with Europe and other international organizations. While many companies, like automaker Nissan, have refrained to lay out plans for moving forward, the Japanese Ambassador to the UK was not mincing words this month when he discussed the topic.

Ambassador Koji Tsuruoka disclosed to BBC Radio 4 that he had spoken to several Japanese businesses, and many of them currently think that of all the places in Europe, the UK is the best place to conduct business in. He continued, however, to say that if the British exit from the EU had an effect on profits for the companies with European headquarters the UK, they will be forced to depart.

While Toyota, Nissan, and Honda all operate in the UK, Ambassador Koji Tsuruoka chose Nissan to use as his example when talking to the BBC. According to Tsuruoka, any customs fees or tariffs that snap into place with Brexit could severely hurt Nissan. Besides fees, drastic changes in the exchange rate between the euro, pound, and Japanese yen mean that Nissan will have to reevaluate where it is best to build cars for the best profit. Nissan isn’t afraid to make decisions based on profit, as they moved some production from Japan recently to accommodate the world’s fluctuating currencies following the initial Brexit vote.

While Ambassador Tsuruoka didn’t say directly that he had spoken to Nissan executives, it sure looks as if Nissan’s Sunderland facility could be on the chopping block if negotiations between the EU and UK sour.

News Source: Newsweek