Nissan to hold talks with Theresa May over 'operations and investments in the UK' amid Brexit debate

Nissan has confirmed it is holding talks with the Prime Minister and Chancellor today.

Nissan Sunderland
Nissan Sunderland

The car giant, which employs almost 6,700 workers at its Sunderland plant and supports many more jobs in the North East supply chain, is among the major Japanese investors in Britain meeting Theresa May and Philip Hammond today.

A meeting is understood to have first been raised when Theresa May was visiting Japan last year, but it comes at a time of much debate among businesses over the Brexit negotiations.

Nissan Sunderland

The Big Three Japanese car manufacturers Nissan, Toyota and Honda are due to attend the talks, along with representatives from banks and drug companies.

In a statement, Nissan said: "Nissan Europe Chairman Paul Willcox will join representatives from other Japanese companies in meeting the prime minister and chancellor on Thursday to discuss our operations and investments in the UK.

"We will not be disclosing details of the discussions."

Nissan Sunderland

A Downing Street spokesman said: “The meeting will be tomorrow afternoon and the attendees will cover the most significant investors in the UK in such areas as banking, life sciences, technology and the manufacturing sector."

There was also relief and joy in October 2016, just a few months after the Brexit vote, when Nissan announced it would build two new models - the Qashqai and X-Trail - in Sunderland.But with 70% of the cars built in Sunderland being exported to Europe (including Russia). trade deals with the continent are obviously a concern for the manufacturer - and many fear a "botched Brexit" will see the firm scaling down its operations in Wearside.

Japanese firms as a whole have spent billions of pounds in the UK in recent decades, with governments encouraging companies from the Asian economic powerhouse with the promise of it being a business-friendly base from which to trade across Europe.

Nissan, Toyota and Honda all began their UK operations in Britain in the 1980s and now build nearly half of all of Britain's 1.67 million cars - the majority of which are exported.

Motor industry leaders have voiced fears over potential export tariffs of up to 10% and customs delays after Britain leaves the European Union.