Barbour strengthens overseas trade links with visit from Taiwanese ambassador

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THE boss at a famous South Tyneside manufacturing company was able to wax lyrical about its products, when an important visitor from the Far East made a recent visit.

Barbour and Sons, on the Bede Training Estate, South Shields, is home to one of the most iconic clothing brands in the world.

Founded in South Shields in 1894 by John Barbour, the clothing manufacturer is best known for making waterproof wax jackets and outdoor clothing.

It supplies to royalty and now retails in 40 different countries worldwide. However, the company is forever trying to expand its market.

It was presented with an ideal opportunity to do so during a recent tour of the company by Taiwanese ambassador Dr Liu Chih-Kung, who was greeted by company chairman Margaret Barbour.

His delegation also included high-ranking trade officials keen to learn about possible ventures between the UK and the Far East.

Stephen Buck, Barbour’s managing director, said: “Barbour was proud to be one of the company’s chosen to represent the region for the visit of Ambassador Liu Chih-Kung and his wife, organised by South Tyneside Council.

“The ambassador met our chairman Dame Margaret Barbour, who gave him a brief overview of the company and he had a tour of the factory where our iconic wax jackets are made.

“The visit gave us a chance to discuss future trade opportunities with Taiwan, where we already have one store in Taipei and are opening a second one in May.”

The delegation also visited the Siemens plant in Hebburn, as part of a three-day visit to the region.

Jarrow’s Labour Parliamentary candidate Stephen Hepburn helped set up the trade trip.

He said: “The delegation had already visited major cities like Manchester and Edinburgh, so I was delighted when they accepted my invitation to visit South Tyneside and the North East. Hopefully, we can work together to develop future opportunities for our area.

“I appreciate South Tyneside Council playing host to such an important delegation.”

During his visit, Dr Liu also visited the site of the borough’s new International Advanced Manufacturing Park, near Sunderland’s Nissan plant.

South Tyneside Council and Sunderland City Council are developing the new manufacturing park together as part of their City Deal agreement.

The 100-hectare park, which will house automotive, offshore and other advanced engineering and manufacturing businesses, is expected to attract £295m of private sector investment, and create about 5,200 new jobs initially.

The ambassador went on to tour strategic sites in South Tyneside, including South Shields’ seafront and promenade, housing developments including carbon negative Sinclair Meadows and business centre One Trinity Green.

The other candidates standing for election in Jarrow this week are: Norman Hall (TUSC), Nick Mason (Conservative), Steve Harrison (UKIP), David Herbert (Green), Stan Collins (Liberal Democrat).

Twitter: @shieldsgazpaul