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Boeing Opens First European Plant, Picking UK Despite Brexit

Oct. 25, 2018
The plant, which will make wing and other parts for assembly in Portland, Oregon, is located near a local university with which Boeing has cooperated for nearly two decades.

Giving a boost to Britain's business credentials ahead of its impending exit from the European Union, Boeing opened its first manufacturing plant in Europe on Oct. 25.

The small facility in the northern English industrial city of Sheffield will employ 52 people and make wing and other parts that will be shipped for assembly to Portland, Oregon.

British officials seized on the symbolism of the £40 million (US$50 million) investment in the plant, which stands near a local university with which Boeing has cooperated for nearly two decades.

"Boeing choosing the heart of South Yorkshire as its first European home is a testament to our capabilities, talent pool and strong manufacturing supply chains," Business Secretary Greg Clark said.

Britain's withdrawal from the European Union in March sharply slowed the pace of foreign direct investments made in 2017.

Economic growth is also projected to decelerate, regardless of whether London and Brussels reach the terms of an exit deal that could facilitate future trade between the two.

Boeing's big rival Airbus, which employs more than 6,000 people in Britain, has warned it may be forced to scale back investment if Britain crashes out of the EU with no deal.

Beoing has thousands of staff across Europe, but none in a manufacturing plant.

It already employs more than 2,200 workers in Britain, including at a site in Glasgow, Scotland.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2018

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