Nissan signals Sunderland plant would be ‘unsustainable’ without a Brexit trade deal

A general view of the Nissan Factory in Sunderland where up to 7,000 jobs are at risk, company COO A

A general view of the Nissan Factory in Sunderland where up to 7,000 jobs are at risk, company COO Ashwani Gupta has warned - Credit: PA Archive/PA Images

Japanese car manufacturer Nissan has warned its Sunderland plant could shut if a deal ensuring tariff-free trade between the EU and UK is not struck.

In an interview with the BBC, Nissan's global chief operating officer Ashwani Gupta said the plant would become 'unsustainable' without a deal.

'You know we are the number one carmaker in the UK and we want to continue. We are committed,' he said.

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'Having said that, if we are not getting the current tariffs, it's not our intention but the business will not be sustainable.

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'That's what everybody has to understand.'

In response, Number 10 said it was committed to reaching a deal with Brussels which would result in no tariffs or quotas on cross-border trade.

'We will continue to work hard to reach an agreement, for as long as there is a constructive process ongoing,' the prime minister's official spokesman said.

'Our aim is zero tariffs and zero quotas - that is at least as much in the EU's interest as ours and the EU has come close to reaching this aim in their other free trade agreements.'

The UK government has ruled out seeking an extension to the Brexit transition period which is set to finish on December 31, despite concerns the coronavirus outbreak would hamper attempts to conclude a deal by then.

The announcement comes as more then 7,000 plant workers survived a recent round of cost-cutting restructuring that saw a facility in Barcelona close.

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