Enlarge ImageIt’s unlikely that Aston Martin’s no-deal Brexit survival plan includes building further V8 Cygnets, unfortunately. Aston Martin While we’re up to our ears here in the US with partial government shutdowns and wall talk, the folks over in the UK are staring down the barrel of a possible no-deal Brexit, in which Britain leaves the EU without a trade deal. The prospect has companies such as Aston Martin taking emergency measures to stay afloat, Reuters reports.The UK is set to leave the EU on March 29. The country’s Prime Minister Theresa May has negotiated a trade deal with the EU but has yet to win support for it in Parliament. Her government on Tuesday suffered defeat over a related finance measure, The Guardian reports. Without a deal, shipments to and from Europe are likely to be severely delayed.The Aston Martin top brass decided at a board meeting in December to enact its no-deal Brexit contingency plan — one which we can only imagine is called something super cool like Condition Aubergine or the Condor Contingency. It will mean major changes to the way the company operates on a day-to-day basis, according to Reuters.Specifically, Aston Martin will use ports other than Dover in an effort to avoid customs delays, and it has authorized its procurement people to use air freight when shipping components from certain vendors.Aston Martin — like many automakers — runs on a just-in-time manufacturing system when it comes to getting the materials it needs to build its cars. Naturally, having the kinds of delays that are expected if a no-deal Brexit happens would pee in Aston Martin’s Wheaties, figuratively speaking. This would likely cause massive production upset, something which a relatively small independent company like Aston Martin can’t afford.The company is also holding on to an inventory of cars in Germany that it will likely augment in the coming weeks, in an effort to avoid post-Brexit costs and paperwork.Aston Martin didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. 0 2019 Aston Martin Vantage: V8 power and elegant style More From Roadshow 2020 BMW M340i review: A dash of M makes everything better 25 Photos Aston Martin Share your voice Post a comment 2020 Kia Telluride review: Kia’s new SUV has big style and bigger value 2020 Hyundai Palisade review: Posh enough to make Genesis jealous Tags Car Industry Luxury cars Exotic Cars Performance Cars Aston Martin
US president Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong UnIt has one foot in the East and one in the West, is ultra-modern, secure and sometimes mocked as being a little dull — Singapore was the safe pick for a historic first meeting between the unpredictable leaders of the US and North Korea.US president Donald Trump on Thursday confirmed the summit — a first between a sitting US president and a North Korean leader — would take place in Singapore on 12 June.”We will both try to make it a very special moment for World Peace!” he tweeted.It followed a second visit to Pyongyang by US secretary of state Mike Pompeo on Wednesday to make arrangements for the summit.The Southeast Asian financial hub was likely chosen due to its neutrality, security advantages and track record of hosting international summits, observers say.The ultramodern city-state has robust security infrastructure and is widely considered one of the safest cities in Asia.It has tight restrictions over media and public gatherings, which will allow for a controlled environment likely to be preferred by the North Koreans.Singapore is also in the rare position of having friendly diplomatic ties with both Washington and Pyongyang.It considers the US a close partner, while North Korea maintains a fully functioning embassy in the city-state.Singapore and the North have a long history of cooperation — the first law firm and fast food restaurant in Pyongyang were both set up by Singaporeans — even if relations hit a snag last year when Singapore enforced new UN sanctions on trade.Singapore will also be an acceptable choice to China, North Korea’s only major ally, which wields a strong influence despite its physical absence from next month’s proceedings.”As a neutral, and objective country with much-admired consistent foreign policy principles and a small state with no desire or capacity to harm other states and their interests, Singapore fits that bill well,” said Lim Tai Wei, adjunct research fellow at the National University of Singapore’s East Asia Institute.- ‘No baggage’ -By apparently agreeing to meet Trump 5,000 kilometres (3,100 miles) away from Pyongyang, Kim has to travel a significant distance out of his comfort zone, said Graham Ong-Webb, a research fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS).Since Kim took over as leader, he has rarely left his isolated nation and has only officially ventured away from home this year, with two visits to China, most recently travelling to the northeastern port city of Dalian where he met Xi.He also stepped across the border into South Korea during a historic meeting with President Moon Jae-in in April, making him the first Northern leader to set foot in the South since the Korean War ceasefire in 1953.Remarkable images of the two leaders greeting each other warmly over the Military Demarcation Line that splits their countries, rich with symbolism and high political theatre, were broadcast around the world.Trump had previously suggested that the demilitarised zone between the two Koreas could be a venue for his meeting with Kim, before ruling it out on Wednesday.Nearby Mongolia was also ruled out as a possible neutral third-country venue, reportedly for security reasons.But for Trump and Kim, Singapore is a convenient venue precisely because it “doesn’t have the historical or political baggage,” said Sarah Teo, an associate research fellow at RSIS’s regional security architecture programme.Singapore also has a track record for hosting international summits.In 2015, the city-state played host to a historic meeting between China’s president Xi Jinping and then Taiwanese president Ma Ying Jeou.It hosts the annual Shangri-La Dialogue, a defence forum regularly attended by heads of state, defence ministers and high level military officials.Now the venue and date have been chosen, it only remains to be seen if Singapore will play host to a meeting that truly builds on hopes for the complete denuclearisation of the peninsula and a formal peace treaty to end the 1950-53 Korean War.