Nissan boss 'confident' UK is competitive after crunch talks with PM over future of Sunderland plant

The future of thousands of jobs at Nissan’s Sunderland car plant looks more certain after company boss Carlos Ghosn said he was confident the UK will remain a “competitive place to do business”.

The positive statement came after Mr Ghosn met with Theresa May on Friday to discuss ‘assurances’ the company had demanded after Britain voted to leave the EU.

The Prime Minister met Mr Ghosn in Number 10 amid concerns about the future of the car giant’s plant in Sunderland after Brexit.

He had previously suggested investment in the factory would dry up, unless the Government offered a compensation deal for any increased export costs if Britain leaves the single market.

Following the talks, Mr Ghosn said: “We want to ensure that this high-performing, high-employment factory remains competitive globally and continues to deliver for our business and for Britain.

“Following our productive meeting, I am confident the Government will continue to ensure the UK remains a competitive place to do business. I look forward to continued positive collaboration between Nissan and the UK Government.”

Mrs May said: “This Government is committed to creating and supporting the right conditions for the automotive industry to go from strength to strength in the UK, now and into the future.”

Thousands of jobs were on the line as the last-ditch talks took place, with fears that if the car giant could not be reassured, they would chose to produce their new Qashqai model on the continent instead of in North East England.

The Sunderland plant, which has been active since 1986, employs almost 7,000 people, and MPs have warned that the Government must do all it can to keep the plant going.

British car exporters could face tariffs of up to 10% if the UK fails to conclude a free trade deal with the rest of the EU and is forced to fall back on basic World Trade Organisation rules.

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