Rolls-Royce Considers U.S. Relocation

British-based Rolls-Royce PLC, the aircraft engine maker that's a major player in global markets along with General Electric Co. and Pratt & Whitney, could move across the Atlantic to the U.S. Company president Sir Ralph Robins is unhappy with the social costs that must be borne by companies in the 15-nation European Union (EU). "The extra costs associated with the social levies imposed by Europe are the last thing we could wish for. . . . We will progressively shift our operations to the United States if we find ourselves handicapped by costs of this sort." Currently, Robins says, Britain's labor costs are 30% below those in the rest of western Europe -- but could rise as Britain is forced to harmonize with EU regulations.

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