Siemens UK boss backs Theresa May's draft Brexit deal
Juergen Maier, chief executive of Siemens UK
By Hull Daily Mail | Posted: 15 Nov 2018
The top boss of Siemens in the UK has given his backing to Theresa May’s Brexit deal.
German-owned Siemens invested £300m into Hull’s Green Port wind blade factory and has made plans to build a £200m train factory in Goole on the Humber.
The Green Port, operated by Siemens Gamesa since 2016, employs more than 1,000 people in the city. Its proposed train factory is predicted to create 700 more direct jobs in East Yorkshire.
Business organisations reaction and what it means: Humberbusiness.com's online guide to the draft Brexit deal
Juergen Maier, Siemens UK’s chief executive, has urged the country to get behind the Brexit deal which Theresa May’s cabinet signed off yesterday after a five-hour meeting.
According to reports, under the prime minister’s deal, the UK would keep close links with the European Union on the trade of goods after Brexit.
Mr Maier said the deal would provide “certainty” to Siemens’ manufacturing operation after “two very difficult years”.
The £300m Siemens Gamesa wind turbine factory employs more than 1,000 people
He called the PM’s Brexit plan “the only deal in town” and said his “gut feeling is we need to get behind it”.
“We haven’t seen the 500 pages yet,” Mr Maier told Radio 4’s Today programme. “But I’m of the view, as a business person, that what we need is calm and to have a proper look at this.
“My gut feeling is we need to get behind it and we need to make this deal work, because what we need is certainty. It has been two very difficult years for manufacturers like ours in the UK.
“We are investing hundreds of millions of pounds in British manufacturing and what we need is certainty that we can continue to invest and trade properly here and it looks to me like this is the only deal in town.
“I feel it is better to get behind it, maybe fine tune it a little bit and make it work. And that will be good for British manufacturing.”
The 54-year-old previously spoke out during the 2016 referendum, urging the country to remain in the EU but, despite the intervention, Hull’s electorate ended up voting to leave by more than 60 per cent.
Mr Maier suggested that he would have wanted Mrs May to have gone further and committed to staying in the European single market, as well as remaining “closely aligned” on customs.
The Siemens boss said: “We have been clear from the very beginning that the ideal solution for us as a manufacturer – we have 14 UK manufacturing sites – and for us, to remain within the single market and a closely aligned customs union is the ideal solution.
“But we understand that compromises are needing to be made. And so therefore, the closest possible alignment to those standards and indeed a part of the customs union is what would work best for us.”