Florida and the United Kingdom signed an agreeement Tuesday in Jacksonville that will boost trade and investment between the British Isles and the Sunshine State.
The agreement expands trade opportunities in financial tech, aerospace, artificial intelligence and other businesses. Gov. Ron DeSantis and Britain’s trade secretary, Kemi Badenoch, signed the memorandum of understanding at the Jaxport Cruise Terminal.
The agreement with Florida is the latest England has signed with a U.S. state, bringing the total to seven states with a combined gross domestic product of $4.1 trillion, British officials said. This agreement will help make it quicker, easier and cheaper for companies in Florida and England to do business, Badenoch said.
“This is not a deal for the short term,” she said. “It will help us to deliver huge opportunities for cooperation in some of the most important industries of the future, and space is right at the top of that list.
“Florida’s world-leading capabilities in launch infrastructure, rocket engine development, navigation, guidance systems are second to none, and the UK space industry is also on the rise,” she said.
The agreement came after the governor met in April with British officials, including Badenoch, to discuss Florida’s business relationship during a multicountry trade mission.
“The United Kingdom just happens to be Florida’s top foreign investor,” DeSantis said. “British companies account for more than 70,000 jobs in Florida, making the United Kingdom the No. 1 source for international investment in Florida’s entire economy, with British affiliates estimated to have $18 billion in total holdings in Florida and more than 350 companies.”
British officials said their country now has similar agreements with seven U.S. states: Indiana, North Carolina, South Carolina, Oklahoma, Utah, Washington and Florida. Britain is actively working with others including Texas, California, Colorado and Illinois.
Britain is Florida’s eighth-largest bilateral trade partner globally and the top one from Europe, DeSantis said. More than 1.1 million British tourists came to Florida in 2022, the second-largest group of international visitors.
Lead image: Britain’s trade secretary, Kemi Badenoch, speaks at Jaxport’s cruise terminal on Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2023. | News4Jax