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DeSantis signs trade agreement with Great Britain

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(The Center Square) — Roughly six months after visiting with British leaders in London, Gov. Ron DeSantis announced this week Florida is expanding its business partnerships with the United Kingdom.

The governor announced on Tuesday that he and the UK Secretary of State for Business and Trade Kemi Badenoch, MP, signed a memorandum of understanding to increase trade and bilateral investment, strengthen business ties and grow academic partnerships.

The MOU is an outgrowth of the governor’s international trade mission to four countries earlier this year including Japan, South Korea, Israel and the UK. While in London, he met with political and business leaders to discuss ongoing and new trade relationships and secure a commitment from British companies to increase access to property insurance carriers to stabilize Florida’s market.

“Florida is the national leader for business growth and economic development,” Gov. DeSantis said, adding the MOU would “continue to ensure our state remains the model for American excellence.”

“Florida is a major economy in its own right, with a bigger GDP than most European countries. From launching satellites to developing the latest fintech software, Florida’s leading high-tech companies offer huge opportunities to the UK’s rapidly expanding tech sector,” Badenoch said

She said the MOU “shows our US state-level strategy is working and delivering for UK firms, giving them a competitive edge in some of the most exciting markets in the world and fundamentally helping to grow the UK economy.”

Florida is the 14th largest economy in the world and ranks first for new business formations with more than 2.6 million new businesses formed since 2019 and has a AAA credit rating. Florida also ranks first and third for having the best postsecondary and K–12 education system for student achievement, respectively, in the U.S. Florida also had the highest net in-migration in the country in 2022.

The United Kingdom is the top foreign investor in Florida. British affiliates are estimated to have had total holdings of over $18 billion in Florida with more than 350 companies employing 70,000 workers. The UK is Florida’s 8th largest trade partner; bilateral trade reached $5.8 billion in 2022 and grew by 119% over the last five years.

The Sunshine State also supplies the UK with a wide range of products, including from the aviation and aerospace industry. Florida also ranks among the top destinations among U.S. states for British businesses and tourists.

The MOU includes five overall objectives: To increase trade between Florida and the UK, increase bilateral investment, create a forum to address possible barriers to trade, foster innovation and strengthen business links and grow academic and research ties.

The agreement focuses on the priority areas of space and fintech, including reinsurance, Medical Technology,

Supply Chains and Logistics, Transportation, Infrastructure, including cybersecurity, Legal Services and Law Tech, Agricultural Biotechnology and emerging areas such as semiconductors and photonics.

The two parties will also prioritize facilitating opportunities for public and private investment and partnership development and facilitate academic cooperation and collaboration on joint projects and events, according to the agreement.

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