Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Staying at the Top Table outside the EU

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Staying at the Top Table outside the EU

Article excerpt


NISSAN'S chief operating officer recently said that Britain's membership of the European Union is "very important" and he is keen to see the UK remain part of the single market, otherwise the threat of import tariffs between the UK and the rest of the EU could be an "obstacle" to the car maker and a threat to jobs.

Undoubtedly Nissan's boss Toshiyuki Shiga is a very clever man and he probably knows an awful lot about the mass manufacturing of vehicles. However he clearly, doesn't know a very much about the European single market - since a country does not have to belong to the EU in order to participate in it.

All they have to do is be like Norway and Switzerland, be members of EFTA which also means that they have access to the single market - which is properly known as the European Economic Area (EEA).

As such, if Mr Shiga wants to the UK to be members of the single market, in order to protect the trading position of their business, then it is perfectly valid for them to express their view, though first he needs to properly understand the subject he is addressing.

Mr Shiga states that Britain remaining in the EU makes life simpler as matters such as vehicle safety regulation, emissions regulations and import duties are the same across Europe.

"A lot of regulations are under the EU," he is cited as arguing. "If the UK - after departing from the EU - is making unique regulations, unique standards, this would become an obstacle", he then says.

Nissan's top man is apparently unaware of the source of the regulation which covers his products. The standards-setting body is UNECE - a UN agency - acting as host to the World Forum for Harmonisation of Vehicle Regulations.

If the UK left the EU - taking what is increasingly known as 'the Norway Option' - the UK would become full members of UNECE and actually take a greater part in standards-setting directly. …

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