An industrial rubber plant near London’s Heathrow Airport is one of the world’s busiest, and its workers depend on a huge network of rubber products, from tyres to plastics.
But the plant’s biggest employer is the Monarch Industrial Rubber Company, which is based in the south of England.
The company’s CEO, Mark McCafferty, said he expected the company to invest $1bn in the plant over the next two years, with another $1.3bn expected for the next five years.
Mr McCafferts investment comes at a time when the UK is looking to reduce its reliance on imports of rubber.
Monarch’s investment in the Newcastle plant comes just as Britain is set to embark on a new era of trade with China, which it is trying to renegotiate the terms of its membership of the World Trade Organisation.
Mr McCafferties comments come at a pivotal time for Britain’s rubber sector, as it tries to secure more lucrative export markets for the industry, and as the UK looks to negotiate a trade deal with China.
As part of that trade deal, the UK government is seeking to boost the supply of the material used to make rubber.
In the past, the Royal Academy of Engineering, the British Rubber Manufacturers Association and other industry groups have said that the industry needed major investment in infrastructure to create jobs and boost productivity.
But Mr McCaffies comments suggest the company may not be so optimistic about its future prospects.
“I think we’re going to need to do more in Newcastle to build our own rubber,” Mr McCafrey said.
While he added that he expected “very high investment” in the future, Mr McCffery did say that it was important to consider the impact of China’s new trade deal on the industry.
Last year, the Queen was in the city for a summit with leaders from more than 50 countries, including China, as part of a round of climate change talks.
The monarch said it was “very important to recognise the importance of the rubber industry in our economy, and the need to create good jobs in Newcastle”.
“There are many parts of the country where we’re seeing demand and jobs being driven by the globalisation of our economy,” she said.
“And it’s vital we continue to build a strong economy that works for everyone.”
In addition to the Newcastle project, Monarch also owns the Rubber Mill in Streatham, a plant in Liverpool and a plant near Cardiff.
It employs more than 300 people at the Streathes factory, which makes its rubber from the UK.
Its main export is the rubber used to manufacture tyre tyres.
Despite the huge investments in Newcastle, Mr Mcafferty said the factory would continue to employ local workers.
He added: “I think that if we’re able to get a foothold in Newcastle then we’re looking to be in a very strong position to do quite a lot in terms of supporting the industry in Newcastle.”