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Friday, 4 August, 2000, 08:13 GMT 09:13 UK
UK chided again over euro
Matsushita DVD player fitted in car dashboard
DVD player demonstrates Matsushita technology
The world's biggest consumer electronics manufacturer, Matsushita, has given a warning that it might pull out of Britain if the country remains outside the eurozone.


The immediate question is when the pound will be included in the euro

Matsushita
Matsushita, parent company to Panasonic, employs about 5,000 people at factories across the country, including Cardiff, Reading and East Kilbride.

Among the products they manufacture are TV sets, computers, microwave ovens, digital satellite receivers, printers, telephones and fax machines.


Matsushita robot pet responds to prompts from design engineer
Matsushita's newly appointed president, Kunio Nakamura, said: "The immediate question is when the pound will be included in the euro.

"If Britain does nothing to solve the problem, foreign companies, regardless of whether they are Japanese, American or whatever nationality, may exit the country."

Growing tide

Earlier in the week, Prime Minister Tony Blair had talks with the Japanese car manufacturer, Nissan, about the company's concern over the UK's adoption of the euro.

Nissan says it might not build its new Micra at its Sunderland factory but move production to Spain or France because of the strength of sterling against the euro.

Matsushita brands
Panasonic
Technics
Quasar
National
Matsushita has already switched much of its TV manufacturing to the Czech Republic because of the currency issue.

Cardiff Labour MP Jon Owen Jones, who has a Panasonic plant in his constituency, has called for a "strong statement" from the government on its intentions concerning the euro.

Another Japanese car-maker, Toyota, said on Thursday it was considering whether to increase production at its British assembly plant near Derby.

Toyota, which exports about 80% of its British-made vehicles to Continental Europe, said it had spare capacity at the plant, but that the strength of the pound had hit profits by making exports more expensive.

Campaigner

Simon Buckby, campaign director for the pro-euro group Britain in Europe, said: "This is the starkest warning yet by an inward investor that shutting the door on the euro could force foreign investors to leave Britain.

"Inward investment is one of the cornerstones of Britain's economic success.

"This is a warning to the whole country that our prosperity is at risk if we rule out the single currency."

The government will also be mindful of the fact that, according to its own figures, the UK attracted record levels of foreign investment in the year to July, receiving more than any country other than the US.

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See also:

31 Jul 00 | Business
Blair in talks over Nissan jobs
28 Jul 00 | Business
Euro to 'benefit' UK economy
05 Jul 00 | Business
Foreign cash creates record jobs
14 Jul 00 | Business
Nissan repeats Sunderland threat
05 Jul 00 | Business
UK leads foreign investment
07 Jul 00 | Business
Sumitomo to close UK plant
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