Nissan deal won’t persuade us, say potential investors in the UK


Car manufacturer Nissan’s announcement that it is building new cars in Britain won’t be enough to convince other firms to remain in the UK following Brexit, say strategists.
Theresa May’s Government hailed Nissan’s decision to build two new models in Sunderland as a huge advantage for UK Plc.
The firm said it was persuaded to stay in Britain as a result of “support and assurances” following several high-level talks with the Government.
However, one of Japan’s top business strategists, Kenichi Ohmae, says that investment in Britain will see an inevitable decline following the decision in June to leave Europe.
He says he is now giving firms in Japan advice to hold off before taking any investment decisions in Britain.
Mr Ohmae dismissed the Nissan deal as “minor” given that it only involved one company and he said it was unlikely that other firms would follow the car maker’s lead.
It was Mr Ohmae who provided advice to Nissan to open its main European manufacturing base in Britain more than three decades ago. But it would appear he is now dishing out the opposite advice to businesses looking to invest in Britain as it presses ahead with Brexit plans.
His analysis comes follows demands from Labour politicians for Business Secretary Greg Clark to make public the exact details of the agreement struck with Nissan.
The Japanese multinational has announced it will be making its new Qashqai, and its X-Trail SUV in Sunderland. The work not only secures the future of 7,000 jobs in the North East plant, but of 28,000 roles in the supply chain.
Both the Government and Nissan have insisted that there is no deal as such, only an assurance about Britain’s negotiating strategy as Mrs May prepares to invoke article 50 to start the official divorce process from Europe.
The chief executive of Mitsubishi in the EU has already said that manufacturers need more than just “general reassurances” in order to make major investment decisions in the coming month.
A taskforce set up by the Japanese government has also issued a stark warning to the United Kingdom and the European Union as a whole.
A 15-page report concluded: “Uncertainty is a major concern for an economy; it evokes a sense of anxiety, causing volatility in markets, and results in the contraction of trade, investment and credit.”