The Government’s assurances to Nissan included pledges it would seek tariff-free access to EU markets for the car manufacturing industry as part of Brexit talks, the business secretary has said.
Last week the Japanese carmaker said it would to continue production at its Sunderland plant, although other foreign companies such as General Motors, which makes Vauxhall cars, have suggested that they may cut back UK operations.
Greg Clark, secretary of state for business, energy and industrial strategy
Appearing on BBC TV on Sunday (30 October). Greg Clark gave more details of the promises he had given Nissan to persuade it to stay.
Mr Clark said that in a letter to Nissan's chief executive he had signalled that ministers would seek tariff-free trade with other EU countries for the British car industry and would provide support to ensure the industry remains competitive.
The business secretary said that, although negotiations on the terms of Britain’s exit from the EU have yet to begin formally, ‘I was able to convey what our demeanour would be, in those negotiations’.
He said the assurances given would apply to the whole of the UK's car sector but were ‘not general’, suggesting that there could be a sector-by-sector approach to future trade with EU countries.
However he added: 'Our objective would be to ensure that we have continued access to the markets in Europe and vice versa without tariffs and without bureaucratic impediment and that is how we will approach those negotiations.'
Sir Keir Starmer, Labour's shadow Brexit secretary, criticised ministers for revealing more to Nissan about the Government's plan for Brexit than they have told MPs.