Automakers cut jobs and fear for investment as Brexit looms

NIssan, which runs Britain’s biggest car factory in Sunderland, said tariffs would make its business unsustainable in Europe. (Reuters)
Updated 15 October 2019

Automakers cut jobs and fear for investment as Brexit looms

  • Automakers in Britain fear that World Trade Organization tariffs of 10 percent on vehicles alongside new customs checks

LONDON: One in three British automotive firms is cutting jobs as Brexit nears, up from one in eight just under a year ago, according to a survey conducted by a group representing the industry which risks being a big loser from Brexit.

Eighty percent of firms feared leaving the EU would hurt their future prospects and nearly two-thirds said they would be unable to invest in their British operations, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) survey showed.

“Make no mistake, every day ‘no deal’ remains a possibility is another day of lost investment, another day that makes it harder to recover investor confidence in the UK,” SMMT Chief Executive Mike Hawes said.

“As yet, the damage is not irreversible. But we need a deal. A deal that, in the short term, enables a ‘business-as-usual’ transition for as long as it takes to negotiate and implement the future trading relationship.”

In the longer term, the industry needed frictionless trade with the EU, he said.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said he is prepared to take Britain out of the EU without an agreement on Oct. 31 if necessary, although lawmakers have passed legislation that they say will force him to seek a delay from Brussels.

The automobile sector, Britain’s biggest exporter of goods, is concerned that World Trade Organization tariffs of 10 percent on vehicles alongside new customs checks and border delays could halt production if there is a disorderly Brexit.

Last week, Nissan, which runs Britain’s biggest car factory, said such tariffs would make its business unsustainable in Europe.

The SMMT said its survey was based on responses from 158 member companies polled in September. 


Arab News recording exposes Nissan lawyer’s lie on IMF bailout for Lebanon

Updated 01 June 2020

Arab News recording exposes Nissan lawyer’s lie on IMF bailout for Lebanon

LONDON: Arab News has published the recording of an interview with a Nissan lawyer after he denied saying that a bailout of Lebanon by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) was linked to the extradition of fugitive tycoon Carlos Ghosn.

The former Nissan chairman fled to Beirut in December from Japan, where he faced charges of financial wrongdoing.

In a story published in Arab News Japan on Saturday, Sakher El Hachem, Nissan’s legal representative in Lebanon, said the multibillion-dollar IMF bailout was contingent on Ghosn being handed back to Japan. 

The lawyer said IMF support for Lebanon required Japan’s agreement. Lebanese officials had told him: “Japan will assist Lebanon if Ghosn gets extradited,” the lawyer said

“For Japan to agree on that they want the Lebanese authorities to extradite Ghosn, otherwise they won’t provide Lebanon with financial assistance. Japan is one of the IMF’s major contributors … if Japan vetoes Lebanon then the IMF won’t give Lebanon money, except after deporting Ghosn.”

On Sunday, El Hachem denied making the comments. “The only thing I told the newspaper was that there should have been a court hearing on April 30 in Lebanon, but it was postponed because of the pandemic,” he said. In response, Arab News published the recording of the interview, in which he can be clearly heard making the statements attributed to him. 

Japan issued an arrest warrant after Ghosn, 66, escaped house arrest and fled the country.

Now listen to the recording: