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Alistair Dormer, of Hitachi Rail Europe, raises worries over potential move
THE boss of train builder Hitachi has called on Britain to stay in the European Union (EU), saying any move could significantly damage trade.
Alistair Dormer, chief executive of Hitachi Rail Europe, says the firm chose to build its new £82m factory in the North-East because the UK provides a key gateway to lucrative EU markets.
The company's plant will open in Newton Aycliffe, County Durham, in 2016, creating 730 jobs.
Mr Dormer's worries come after deputy prime minister Nick Clegg said Nissan could cut investment at its flagship Sunderland car factory if Britain leaves the EU.
Mr Dormer said: “Clearly, we would be concerned as a business if there were any trade barriers or any barriers to doing business in Europe.
“That would be a key concern to us.
“Europe is potentially our biggest market and we would not want anything to happen that would create any barriers or damage the relationship.
“My advice is we should stay in.”
Earlier this year, Mr Dormer highlighted how the North-East was important to the company's European exports.
He said: “By investing substantially in our train factory, we are creating employment opportunities for a large number of engineers and technicians in the North-East, which has a strong tradition of engineering skills.
“We are keen to fill our order books, building trains here in the UK for use in Britain and for exporting to Europe.”
Mr Dormer was speaking as Hitachi confirmed specialist glass maker, Romag, in Leadgate, near Consett, County Durham, as a supplier of windows for its new trains, in a five-year deal.
The contract has been welcomed by Sedgefield MP, Phil Wilson, whose constituency includes the Hitachi site.
He said: “This is more good news for the North-East manufacturing industry and proves the confidence that Hitachi has in the region.
“I hope it leads to more regional firms winning contracts to supply the Newton Aycliffe train factory.”
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