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Nissan Ready to Evaluate Sunderland Plant After Hard Brexit

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Nissan LEAF factory Sunderland UKThis month, the Prime Minister of Great Britain, Theresa May, announced that her nation would be pursuing a “hard” Brexit, which is to say that when the island nation withdraws from Europe, they will not stay in the European Union’s tariff-free single market. This decision was reached when the EU and UK came to a stalemate when it becomes to the movement of people. If the UK wanted to remain in the open market, it would have to accept the open movement of people between the EU and the UK, which is something Britain is not willing to allow.

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Leaving the single market means that tariffs and other trade barriers will snap into place once the British exit from the EU is official. Of course, between officially declaring its intention to leave and the departure taking place is a two year period, leaving time to negotiate with member states for a trade agreement. Many nations in the EU, like Germany, are bitter about Brexit, though, and are in no hurry to make things easier for the wayward UK.

Why is this important for a car blog to cover? Nissan’s plant in Sunderland, UK is a huge employer in the area, and exports many of the cars it makes to the European Union. It is also part of an alliance that ties it to Renault, a French car maker. Since the announcement of the hard Brexit, management at Nissan has alluded to an in-depth review of the “competitiveness” of the Sunderland facility once the impact of Brexit is known. Under pressure from President Trump, Nissan has also said that it is considering further American investment, which could be a good place to move UK jobs to, or mainland Europe.

Either way, surely Nissan employees in Sunderland are resting uneasy. To be fair, they did vote overwhelmingly to leave the European Union, even when Nissan advised against it. Before this latest announcement from the British government, it sounded as if Nissan had plans to stay, but now that is all up in the air. For everyone’s sake, hopefully Nissan can come to a conclusion sooner rather than later.

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News Sources: The EconomistWall Street Journal, The Guardian