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Toyota chief urges UK, EU to avoid no-deal Brexit ‘at all costs’

Akio Toyoda, the head of Japanese carmarker Toyota, has warned about the impact of a no-deal Brexit/AFP-File

TOKYO, Japan, Oct 19 – The head of Toyota, who leads a group of Japanese automakers, on Friday urged Britain and the European Union to avoid a no-deal Brexit “at all costs.”

The statement from Akio Toyoda comes after EU leaders on Thursday warned Britain that they would offer no more concessions to break a deadlock in Brexit negotiations.

“Apprehension is therefore growing that a ‘withdrawal without agreement’ may become a reality,” wrote Toyoda in a rare statement posted on the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association website.

“We hope that both the UK and EU governments will continue to make maximum efforts to reach a satisfactory settlement and that a ‘withdrawal without agreement’ is avoided at all costs,” he said.

The statement warned that a no-deal Brexit could have disastrous consequences for the industry, including suspended production, declining revenue and rising vehicle prices because of increased logistics and production costs.

Toyoda said Japanese automakers employed 170,000 people throughout the EU, including in Britain, and warned that the firms require “an unimpaired trade environment between the United Kingdom and European Union.”

And he called for “flexible responses” after Britain’s withdrawal to sure businesses can continue to function smoothly during the transition.

European leaders gathered in Brussels this week for Brexit talks but made little progress, with British Prime Minister Theresa May only suggesting a longer transition period.

EU leaders have warned that Britain may now crash out of the regional group in March without any agreement.

On Friday, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier said the thorny issue of the border between Ireland and the British province of Northern Ireland could sink Brexit negotiations.

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“I believe we need a deal. I’m not yet sure we’ll get one. It is difficult, but possible.”

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