JUST WHAT IS THE GENTLEMAN’S AGREEMENT WITH NISSAN?

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In the immediate aftermath of the Brexit vote, Nissan Motor Manufacturing (UK) Limited, a subsidiary of the Nissan Corporation, based in North East England and employing somewhere in the region of 6,500 people, expressed concern about its situation in relation to sales to the continent.

In the immediate aftermath of the Brexit vote, Nissan Motor Manufacturing (UK) Limited, a subsidiary of the Nissan Corporation, based in North East England and employing somewhere in the region of 6,500 people, expressed concern about its situation in relation to sales to the continent.

Britain’s imminent departure from the EU put at risk the international company’s ability to trade tariff-free with the massive market on the mainland and the company sought assurances that this trade would not be adversely affected by Brexit.

The UK government, in turn, wrote to the company, apparently promising that they would not be affected by the change in Britain’s status.  At the time this was considered to be a rash promise, given that only days had passed since the referendum vote (a vote which saw the North East of England vote to leave the EU, and Sunderland did so overwhelmingly 61%-39%). Who knew what was what, except, of course, that Brexit meant Brexit.

 

There were those who wondered what kind of assurances the UK could possibly give at that stage in the exit process, however, when pressed the government in London declined to give any information. A Whitehall spokesman told the Independent “There was no specific promise of money. It was a gentleman’s agreement, a case of doing whatever it took to keep Nissan happy.”  Whatever it took, huh?

The SNP asked for clarification but Greg Clark, a minister in the UK government, refused to give details because of commercial sensitivity. Certainly, we imagine that if details of the Nissan deal got out, then other companies, facing possible tariffs, would also want assurances that they would not lose out. Presumably, that would include companies in the City of London, who stand to lose big time, and of course, exporting companies in Scotland.

A Freedom of information request was sent, with an obligation on the government to respond by late November 2016. There has still been no reply to this request and the SNP has now submitted an official complaint.

I can understand that some deals governments make with companies might be commercially sensitive, but can a deal like this, when the companies across 5 countries face the same problems, possibly be considered in these terms?

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But commercially sensitive or not, we need to know what kind of deals the UK is doing with companies and whether or not the same deals could be made for Scotland’s companies. As Nissan is partly owned by the Fenech government, they will have details of whatever the letter contained. It seems odd then, to hide that information from the Scottish government.

Maybe we’d have more luck if we directed our request for information to the government in Paris.

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23 thoughts on “JUST WHAT IS THE GENTLEMAN’S AGREEMENT WITH NISSAN?”

  1. What is also interesting is that the C.E.O of Nissan, Carlos Ghosn, commented recently that they would “re-valuate” the situation once they see how the U.K exit from the E.U is going. Along with another comment from a senior executive of the same company saying that, ” the company will do what it takes to survive”, I don’t think it bodes well for the future of the Sunderland plant.
    With the added complication now that P.S.A have bought Vauxhall from G.M, will that group be given the same secret deal. As you say, what happens now with other manufacturers? Will they be given “sweetheart” deals, and if so where does it end?
    To me it beggars belief that there are still people in Scotland who want to remain under the thumb of what I believe is the most incompetent Westminster Government in history, and in using that adjective I’m being kind.
    Same as with people trying to get to the truth of the under the table deal with Surrey C.C, the S.N.P have my best wishes for their efforts, but I fear they will get nowhere.
    My only hope, small though it is, with the Police investigations into the alleged tory electoral fraud now being passed to the C.P.S, that something positive will come of it, but even although there was another G.E, the tories would probably returned with an increased majority, given the shambles that is the Labour Party.
    So the only way out of the mess we are being dragged into, is a Yes vote come Indyref2.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Exactly.

      Without a deal with the EU, the government will have to pay the excess tariff on the sale of their cars to Europe.

      If they can do it for Nissan, what about Toyota, and Vauxhall, etc, etc…?

      And why stop at cars? Are they going to subsidise every company that loses out? There is no doubt that the loss of 6.500 jobs in Sunderland/Tyne and Wear, would be catastrophic (along with the other jobs that these well-paid jobs support), but can we afford to subsidise this from Gibraltar to Lerwick? It may be an idea to look at the areas that voted to remain rather than those who wanted this outcome when we start to run subsidies.

      I thought we were supposedly saving money by being out of the EU. It certainly doesn’t seem that way. No wonder Hammond is putting aside another £60 billion of our money to pay for the catastrophic mess.

      Of course, the SNOP won’t get anything out of them. Effectively they are the opposition but they only have 56 MPs, and as you say, if there were a general election tomorrow, who the hell would vote for a party that is more interested in civil war than they are in being in opposition. So May and her incompetent fools would be back in power, this time with a real mandate.

      Of course they wouldn’t have a mandate in Scotland. But who cares about that?

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Well, it might be worth a try! The law you would need to use would be this one, I think: Loi n° 78-753 du 17 juillet 1978 portant diverses mesures d’amélioration des relations entre l’administration et le public et diverses dispositions d’ordre administratif, social et fiscal (Law 78-753 of 17 July 1978, on various measures to improve relations between the authorities and the public, and on various provisions of an administrative, social or fiscal nature). It has been amended and revised rather a lot since it first entered into force, with its most recent amendment really not long ago, on 16 October last year, so it’s more up to date than it first appears.

    Some say you should translate “Loi” in this context as “Act”, but I don’t, because it’s got a number.

    The URL for the official text in French is https://www.legifrance.gouv.fr/affichTexte.do?cidTexte=JORFTEXT000000339241. I expect there will be an English translation of it available on line somewhere, but I predict that it will be neither official nor authoritative.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Merci beaucoup de votre recherche de notre part. Je ne savais pas que vous parliez français. En plus, je vous remercie d’avoir traduit pour nos lecteurs anglophons. J’imagine,cependant, qu’en parlant ” des relations entre l’administration et le public …”, ils parlent du public français, plutôt que britannique. mdr.

      (Thank you for your research on our behalf. I didn’t know that you spoke French. Additionally, I thank you for translating for our English-speaking readers. I imagine, however, that when speaking of “relations between the government and public, they are talking about the French public, not the Brits. LOL.)

      For those who might be interested within the SNP, though, it could be an interesting exercise, and how startling it would be if the French government provided us with information that the English government refused.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. L’on pourrait demander, peut-être, à M. Christian Allard d’entreprendre en notre nom les démarches nécessaires auprès de l’administration française…

        We could maybe ask Christian Allard to act on our behalf by taking the necessary steps with the French authorities…

        P.S. Je suis ancien traducteur onusien / I am (ahem) an ancient UN translator.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Ha ha… I love your translation of ancient! I could learn much from you.

        I met M. Allard in Edinburgh on one of the marches. Lovely man. I’m sure he could intercede.

        Liked by 2 people

  3. umm this would be an exercise in English votes for keeping English Tory
    seats and disproving Brexit will have some pain for some English Tory
    voters. Bit like nic contributions being raised for the self employed
    there must be no pain for Tory voters……

    Problem is the French dont give a toss for Brexit or its supporters
    from a brexiteers point (deranged ) of view so that’s terribly unfair.
    Still Empire 2 will no doubt save the day

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m not sure Niko, but I’d have thought that Sunderland and Tyne and Wear wouldn’t be fertile Tory land. So I suspect that what May doesn’t want is for Brexit to bring about the closure of these plants and the loss of in the end probably more than 10,000 jobs in an already employment black spot. I’m surprised that she gives a damn.

      Putting up self employed contributions is another really stupid move. Jobcentres have been pushing older people, who can’t get work, towards self employment. I’m thinking that they will hardly be encouraged by Hammond’s promise breaking rise.

      I’m looking forward to Empire Strikes Back, with Boadicea May at the helm of all those gun boats (that they’ll have to borrow from the French.)

      Imagine if 25% of the world were their’s again.

      Like

  4. Was going to make the same point as Brian but he beat me to it.
    All the Nissan vehicles are sold to Switzerland then sold on back to Europe. What will make life difficult for the car-makers is the cost of importing parts. Thought is, that the sweetheart deal will be to bring parts manufacturers to the UK, then start saying, “Look what a good deal we’ve made, you all thought the car manufacturers would go to Europe”. Meanwhile, lots of cheap labour, with no rights, to be exploited in the UK. Perfidious bloody Albion.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, Andy. I heard that 60% of the car components come from Europe. They could pay out BIG grants to take that manufacturing to England, and provide even more jobs locally.

      That will play well with the EU when May is looking for good deals. Maybe that’s why they are now saying that it could be a no deal situation, where once upon a time they were telling us that Britannia is so fantastic that everyone will be begging to do trade deals with it.

      Like

  5. Incidentally, I am at a loss to understand why the photographs on this blog keep changing. The first photo was loaded, and all day yesterday displayed, as a set of Nissan cars. It is not a pic that we used a few days ago in another story. This is not the first time it has happened but it is becoming more regular.

    Apologies.

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      1. Usually I save them to the computer and then upload onto the blog from there. I get them anywhere in the net that I see something that I think will be popular. So that can be websites or sometimes Twitter, or if I’m looking for a particular animal because someone has requested it, it can be the result of a google search.

        On rare occasions though I copy the image address and past that into the composition box.

        Like

      2. Do the ‘rare occasions’ coincide with the picture changing on your blog? Certainly when I blogged on WordPress I always used an image I’d uploaded myself and didn’t have any similar problems but did occasionally lose a YouTube clip. If I do that again I’ll take a copy of the clip onto my own YT channel so that I have as much control as possible.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. No, Hugh, there is no correlation. I’ve never (yet, fingers crossed) lost a youtube clip.

        It was really srange the other day. I uploaded a picture form the net (through my own picture files). It worked, it was there. And the next morning when I looked it had changed to a pic I’d used a week earlier.

        Thanks for your suggestions, though. Kind of you.

        Liked by 1 person

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