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Sunday, 5 November, 2000, 18:13 GMT
Entrepreneur issues euro threat
Contrarotator washing machines
The Contrarotator marks Dyson's entrance into the 13.7bn world washing machine market
Maverick entrepreneur James Dyson has reopened business's battle of the euro by threatening to switch investment to the Far East unless the UK joins the single currency.

Mr Dyson, inventor of the bagless vacuum cleaner, says in an interview with The Observer on Sunday that it is "suicidal" of Britain not to take up the euro, and help manufacturers struggling to cope with the strong pound.

Speaking on the eve of the Confederation of British Industry conference, the entrepreneur says his Wiltshire-based Dyson Appliances firm, which has as turnover of about 420m a year, may target future investment at a Malaysian site or "anywhere".

'Unfair competition'

While the strong pound is allowing importers to have "a whale of a time" the situation is "horrendous" for exporters, he tells The Observer.

A picture of the original Dyson cleaner
The original Dyson dual cyclone cleaner

"Why should we go on exporting at a loss," he says. "We're facing unfair competition."

While Mr Dyson in February revealed his pro-euro sympathies, the commments were made before his company opened a Malaysian plant, now responsible for 5-10% of output.

Dyson Appliances also on Friday revealed its entrance into the 13.7bn world washing machine market with the launch of the mould-breaking Contrarotator model. The company hopes the machine will support the creation of 1,000 jobs.

Firms including Nissan and Sony have voiced concerns over the strength of the pound in reviews of company activity in the UK. Nissan is set to decide the future of its highly-praised Sunderland plant by the end of the year.

Anti-euro campaign

But anti-euro business leaders, who have stepped up their campaign to keep Britain outside the eurozone, gained cheer from Denmark's rejection of the currency in a referendum in September.

Later that month, MG Rover announced it was lifting a rule forcing parts and services suppliers to conduct business with the car giant in euros.

The CBI has, under the leadership of Digby Jones, wavered from its firmly pro-euro stance, and spread its campaigns to subjects such as transport.

The CBI conference on Monday hosts a debate entitled "Is the single market delivering?", with speakers including anti-euro businessman Sir Anthony Bamford, head of JCB.

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See also:

01 Nov 00 | Business
What and who is the CBI
13 Oct 00 | Business
Dyson wins Hoover ban
04 Sep 00 | UK Politics
Owen warns against early euro poll
10 Aug 00 | UK Politics
Toyota sparks new euro row
15 Feb 00 | Business
Dyson goes abroad
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