An Englishman, and Irishman and a Japanese industrial walk into a bar, which could be the start of a joke, yet there is a very serious issue behind it. You see, when we see (at https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/oct/31/nissan-assurances-over-brexit-cannot-be-published-says-business-secretary) on how “the stark warning from Haruki Hayashi, president of the Japanese chambers of commerce in Britain and the European CEO of Mitsubishi, who said businesses needed more than “general reassurances” if his country’s investment presence in Britain was to be maintained” needs to take a little lesson from a firm called ‘Hypocrisy Inc.‘, when we see (at http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/news/article-2230999/Nissan-sells-UK-cars-Switzerland-tax-ruse.html), which is from 2012 “Nissan Motor Manufacturing, which has received tens of millions of pounds in Government grants to build cars in the UK, is a contract manufacturer for another Nissan company based in Rolle, Switzerland. The Swiss company buys the raw materials and owns the finished cars. It pays the UK business a fee that is slightly higher than the manufacturing costs, limiting the amount of profits that are declared in Britain”
In addition, this is a game that Japanese car makers have been playing on a global scale, including Australia, getting millions in grants, getting what was calculated as a $2,000 discount per manufactured car, whilst shipping tens of thousands for sale overseas. The comedy team Kim Carr and Bill Shorten (the honourable BS) from the Australian Labor party were on that merry-go-round, that whilst in week 3 of the new government blaming the Liberal party for ‘losing‘ the automotive industry. I discussed this in May 2016 (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2016/05/22/tuesday-evening-quarterback/), the UK is facing a similar situation, basically, Japanese firms are trying to strongarm a better deal, which is business minded and all fine, yet the Brexit scaremongering thing is getting on my nerves because I am fed-up with this category of ‘wanker‘ (or is the term ‘tosser‘ more correct?) that they represent. For those people I state, there was no Brexit in Australia, Japanese firms will do whatever they can to broker an increased profit any way possible, Brexit is just their latest excuse (whilst we admit that some raised items are a valid concern, there is still no certainty whether the set changes will actually impact). In interesting side that was not mentioned in this comes from Reuters (at http://www.reuters.com/article/britain-eu-nissan-support-idUSL8N1CY3QI). “The support that the UK government has promised carmaker Nissan in return for building new models in Britain could prove expensive, but the Japanese carmaker’s complex structure makes it hard to estimate“, so like Australia, whatever grant the Japanese receive, could be seen as legalising slave labour, for that is basically the setting when the grants add up to work whilst having no cost for the manpower employed. The Reuters article lights up a few additional issues, yet it also gives view that the Bremain group is still playing and pulling lines to scare the population in making them believe that Brexit was a bad idea and as such trying to swing a way to undo Brexit.
So whilst you contemplate those elements, think back to my September article (those who read it) ‘For Only the Messenger‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2016/09/05/for-only-the-messenger/), where we see the Japanese Prime Minister making demands, whilst we also have the added information that he is making demands for companies that funnel sales through Switzerland, so that paying taxation is kept to an unrealistic minimum. Having cars built in the UK, whilst the grants exceed the cost of labour, whilst in addition, sales are funnelled through Switzerland giving them a 10% taxation option, gives voice to the findings of Reuters. The prestige of having cars build in the United Kingdom does not seem to bring the bacon home, the cost for this prestige is a lot more than the UK governments bargained for. So, when I see the quote “The strong intervention from the Japanese came as the business secretary, Greg Clark, claimed the government’s letter to Nissan cannot be published because of commercial sensitivity“, or is it actually a simple reason? Mainly that any person with an abacus or calculator could work out that government administrations have been giving in to car makers for too long a time at way too high a cost to both the consumer and the taxpayers?
This debate on Japanese demands is actually interesting, because the French political left is now more and more on the side of Frexit, so with Frexit now a realistic issue for 2017, we see that 128 million consumers could fall out of reach to these car makers, should they push for certain options. If Japan wants to play around and endanger an optional 18% European consumer base, that’s fine by other car builders. In my view, the push for non-taxability at any cost could be the more expensive one for Japan in the end and with their economy even more on the edge than America is, it is a gamble that they could actually end up losing. The question becomes, how scared are the UK politicians at present and have they done the clear and correct calculations on what the costs are, because paying for people to be employed is not what job creation is about.
We see similar issues with Honda, from the Wall Street Journal (at http://www.wsj.com/articles/honda-net-profit-jumps-39-1477896050), where we see net profits to $1.7 billion for the last quarter, whilst we see that tax breaks are on the clear side of delivery here. The Wall Street Journal also states “The party may grind to a halt once those tax incentives go away“, in my view the question should be, why on earth are we giving tax breaks to any player making 1,700 million dollars of net profit on a quarter?
In addition, when I see “net profit is expected to increase by ¥25 billion yen to ¥415 billion yen as a result of lower costs“, I ask here: ‘How much tax breaks represent the annual 25 billion in increased profit?‘, which is a question we should all ask, especially when we see unrealistic demands from an industry, where a single player in this industry is expected to be making 2 billion a month more. Would you not agree?
This all intersects with the exit strategies from the EU. Brexit is actively an issue, Frexit is currently a realistic change, yet the silent player in this is now Italy with a December 4th vote coming up. This vote is regarding a constitutional referendum regarding the appointment and powers of the Parliament of Italy. In the background however, the changes could also simplify any referendum on leaving the EU if that becomes an issue. The Italeave group is currently not that big, yet grew when Brexit became a reality, also the right wing groups are not that strong at present in Italy, a change that could become a lot more intense when Frexit becomes real, because it would push Germany as they, together with Italy would be the only two anchors leaving the Euro in a somewhat stable state. As I stated before, two currencies will not be able to do that, making Germany and Italy run for the hills soon and fast. Beware! I stated when Frexit becomes a reality! So there is no given, merely an increased level of likelihood, which is no less threatening.
This now strikes back to the Japanese side, because with these changes over the coming two years, any change the Japanese market makes will have other consequences as well. Consider that they suddenly get that ‘special offer’ from Slovenia or Poland. What will happen when France and the UK are out of that single market? They could make a deal together where the UK and France markets support one another whilst pushing other markets to the left. Suddenly certain Japanese dignitaries will need to explain to certain bosses of the Japanese International Trade that their hand of poker backfired, that whilst they only had 3 of the 5 cards to play. That should make for interesting newscasts in Tokyo, I just hope that NHK News will be airing those news cycles with English subtitles.
Are my thoughts realistic?
Well, that is part of the issue. The other part is that politicians on a global scale are always willing to give away the kitchen sink to be able to boast that they secured 100,000 jobs. The fact that nobody is asking what the costs were makes it even easier for them to do this. Yet overall, the consideration of cost is actively being pushed to the foreground by others, giving me a stronger case, but is it strong enough? I honestly cannot tell, but time will tell as we see the publications of concessions given to the car industry.
The question now becomes, who offered what and for what reason, because at this stage, the Bremain group and especially those with political power are eager to make certain promises (within the office they hold), whilst knowingly undermine the continuation of Brexit at the same time, so that hurdle is one we will see a few times more soon enough. So when we get back to the statement that several newspapers reported on ‘Japanese companies have already begun receiving offers to relocate elsewhere in the EU‘, isn’t it interesting that no one is making any claim that they made the offer and no one is making any report on where they might go to. In this place where ‘leaking’ reports is at the core of scaremongering, that fact does not see the light of day. The clarity is, is that the only place where there is a clear benefit to go to apart from the UK, is the Netherlands, because in the end, manufactured cars need to get delivered somewhere, so as the infrastructure goes down, the costs go up by a fair bit. That part is not given consideration to the extent it needed to have. As 50% of the created cars go into export, consider when the factory is in (for example) Germany, what additional jumps would be needed to get the cars to the same location? Sweden has a similar deal, however with out of control weather 3 months a year and additional issues with extreme cold and an additional delivery distance of 1100 miles, what costs would Japan face in addition?
Just questions that impact the decision, there might be answers, or not. What matters is that people are suddenly demanding decisions, taking away the rights that the British voters had. Is it not interesting that this all happens, whilst Wall Street is in absolute fear that Donald Trump might win? The reason to mention this (at http://www.wsj.com/articles/investors-consider-a-brexit-times-10-trump-win-1478111985) is very applicable as the Japanese profit needy corporations rely on stability, something we see here “In the past week or so, the Vix index of volatility has risen from around 13 to just under 20 points; the S&P 500 has fallen for six trading days in a row, for the first time since February 2015; and the Stoxx Europe 600 has fallen for seven days, for the first time since February“, under these conditions, Japanese car makers will resettle somewhere else?
So these three men were in the bar, the Englishman orders an English Chapter 6, the Irishman a glass of Paddy and the Japanese gentleman ordered tea. As all three look at the tea, the Japanese states: ‘If you are not drinking alcohol, then neither am I!‘ (a reference to Awamori)