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. 


Saudi Arabia jumps up global talent league

Updated 14 min 32 sec ago

Saudi Arabia jumps up global talent league

  • The Kingdom rose five places in the annual survey

DUBAI: Saudi Arabia has jumped up the global league tables for the quality of its business executives, as measured by the International Institute for Management Development (IMD), the prestigious Swiss business school, in its 2019 World Talent Ranking.

The Kingdom rose five places in the annual survey, leapfrogging the UAE in 30th place for the first time and closing the gap on Qatar in 26th position.

The IMD’s improved rating for Saudi Arabia comes after the Kingdom jumped up the World Bank’s “doing business” ratings and an improved performance in the World Economic Forum’s global competitiveness rankings.

IMD said that Saudi Arabia showed improvements in the investment and development categories it judges, as well as readiness for economic and managerial change.

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1st

Switzerland was first placed in the IMD rankings, followed by Denmark and Sweden.

It also scored high on the availability of apprenticeships, the prioritization of employee training, access to specialist skills and the availability of senior managers with international experience and finance skills.

In terms of its appeal to executive talent, however, Saudi Arabia was further down the placings.

Jose Caballero, senior economist at the IMD competitiveness center, told Arab News that Saudi Arabia could improve its appeal by “encouraging its private sector to prioritize talent attraction and retention, as well as focusing on increasing the levels of worker motivation, and the quality of life it offers.”

He added: “The talent potential of Saudi Arabia is captured in one of the Vision 2030’s key themes: A vibrant society, with strong foundations, especially in relation to education.”

But despite spending a big proportion of its GDP on
education, expenditure per student is relatively low, as is the quality of secondary schools and teacher-pupil ratios. The Kingdom ranks comparatively low down the ratings for adult literacy, Caballero added.