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The BBC reports that the UK’s largest car manufacturing plant is “unsustainable” if the UK leaves the European Union without a trade deal, owner Nissan says.

Lead paragraphs

The Japanese company’s global chief operating head told the BBC people had to understand the EU was the Sunderland factory’s biggest customer. Ashwani Gupta said that Nissan’s commitment could not be maintained if there was not tariff-free EU access. Nissan has invested billions of pounds in the plant, which has 7,000 workers. His comments come despite the Sunderland site surviving this week’s announcement on the Japanese giant’s global restructuring programme.

Mr Gupta said: “You know we are the number one carmaker in the UK and we want to continue. We are committed. Having said that, if we are not getting the current tariffs, it’s not our intention but the business will not be sustainable. That’s what everybody has to understand.”

Market implications

As the BBC notes, “last week, the EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier said the EU would consider a two-year Brexit delay, which was rebuffed by his UK counterpart David Frost, who told MPs the government’s policy remains not to extend the transition period beyond the end of the year.”

Under an agreement signed last year, the UK has until the end of this month to decide whether it wants to request such an extension so the coming weeks are crucial for sterling traders. 

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