The Daily Telegraph

Nis­san and Toy­ota call for bailout if Brexit talks fail

- By James Crisp and Alan Tovey

NIS­SAN and Toy­ota yes­ter­day de­manded a gov­ern­ment bailout to cover the tar­iffs they will face if Bri­tain fails to reach a trade deal with the EU.

The two Ja­panese car man­u­fac­tur­ers want the Bri­tish Gov­ern­ment to cover the ex­pected 10 per cent taxes that would af­fect au­to­mo­tive ex­ports from Jan 1 if Bri­tain leaves the tran­si­tion pe­riod with­out an agree­ment. UK and EU ne­go­tia­tors are try­ing to fi­nalise a zero-tar­iff free trade agree­ment by the Euro­pean Coun­cil sum­mit in Brussels on Oct 15.

The two sides re­main di­vided over is­sues such as fish­ing, en­force­ment and dis­pute res­o­lu­tion and the level play­ing field guar­an­tees, es­pe­cially for sub­sidy law.

Boris John­son held talks with Ur­sula von der Leyen, the pres­i­dent of the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion, on Satur­day and they agreed that the ne­go­ti­a­tions should be in­ten­si­fied. The Prime Min­is­ter said on Sun­day his pref­er­ence was for an agree­ment but that Bri­tain could live with no deal.

Nis­san warned in June that its fac­tory in Sun­der­land, which em­ploys 7,000, would be “un­sus­tain­able” if there was no deal. It pushed ahead with £52 mil­lion plans to build its new Qashqai sports util­ity ve­hi­cle af­ter se­cur­ing re­as­sur­ances from the Gov­ern­ment that Brexit would not hurt its com­pet­i­tive­ness. Toy­ota op­er­ates a plant in Der­byshire, and pro­duced roughly 8 per cent of the 1.52 mil­lion cars that were made in Bri­tain in 2018. It also pro­duces en­gines at a fac­tory in Wales.

“We urge UK and EU ne­go­tia­tors to work col­lab­o­ra­tively t owards an or­derly, bal­anced Brexit that will con­tinue to en­cour­age mu­tu­ally ben­e­fi­cial trade,” Nis­san said.

Ac­cord­ing to the So­ci­ety of Mo­tor Man­u­fac­tur­ers and Traders, 80 per cent of cars that are built in the UK are ex­ported, with 55 per cent of those go­ing to the EU.

Nis­san and Toy­ota pro­duced just un­der half a mil­lion ve­hi­cles in the UK last year with al­most 220,000 go­ing to the EU.

The so­ci­ety said last year that tar­iffs could add £3.2 bil­lion a year to costs for the car in­dus­try in Bri­tain.

A No 10 spokesman said: “We’ve been work­ing with a wide range of sec­tors across the econ­omy, in­clud­ing the au­to­mo­bile sec­tor, to en­sure they are pre­pared for the end of the tran­si­tion pe­riod.”

The Gov­ern­ment wants the out­line of the deal by Oct 15 and the talks on the small print could run be­yond that dead­line.

The EU’S dead­line to fi­nalise the deal is the end of Oc­to­ber, but sources in Brussels be­lieve that could stretch to mid-novem­ber.

An­gela Merkel met with Michel Barnier, the EU’S chief ne­go­tia­tor, in Berlin yes­ter­day.

The Ger­man chan­cel­lor said she was “op­ti­mistic” as long as ne­go­ti­a­tions con­tin­ued.

Heiko Maas, the Ger­man for­eign min­is­ter, said yes­ter­day it would be “to­tally ir­re­spon­si­ble” to force a no-deal dur­ing the coro­n­avirus pan­demic.

Mr Barnier plans to con­tact EU fish­ing min­is­ters ahead of trade talks in London this week in a bid to se­cure sup­port for any fu­ture com­pro­mises.

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