Nissan has called on Britain to stay in the European Union, warning that a departure would create "obstacles" to foreign investment in car manufacturing.
The Japanese car giant voiced concerns about the upcoming referendum in 2017. Toshiyuki Shiga, Nissan's chief operating officer, said: “The UK is part of the European Union — that’s very important. From the foreign investor’s point of view, I hope that the UK will remain an EU member.”
Nissan, Japan's second largest carmaker, employs over 6,000 people in Sunderland and its supply chain supporters an extra 24,000 jobs. The car firm's comments come after Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg warned a departure from the European Union would be "economic suicide".
“A lot of regulations are under the EU. If the UK, after departing from the EU, made unique regulations, unique standards, that would become an obstacle," Shiga said.
“If the EU side put import duties on the UK that would be a big obstacle. It depends what happens after leaving," he added.
Labour seized on the remarks as proof of the dangers in the coalition's plans to renegotiate EU membership.
Chuka Umunna, the Shadow Business Secretary, said: “These comments from Nissan make it clear that millions of pounds of inward investment and thousands of jobs could be put at risk by the Tory-led Government’s approach and attitude to the EU.
“Nissan’s comments underline that Britain’s place within the EU is essential to us being able to compete, attract investment and pay our way in the world.”