Business and Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis have just signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to boost trade and investment between the UK and Florida.

Florida has a GDP of over £1.1tn – the fourth biggest of any US state and roughly the same size as Spain. The MoU is designed to help make it quicker, easier, and cheaper for UK and Florida firms to do business and is targeted at sectors in which the UK and Florida have particular strengths such as space, fintech, AI and legal services as the Secretary of State and Governor DeSantis signed the pact in Jacksonville.  

The MoU is the first the UK has signed which focuses on the space sector. Florida is home to the NASA Kennedy Space Centre and has world-leading capabilities in launch infrastructure, manufacturing, and satellite development, presenting huge opportunities for the UK’s growing space industry – now with an income worth over £17.5 billion and employing nearly 50,000 people.

After the signing, the UK will have MoUs with seven US states – Indiana, North Carolina, South Carolina, Oklahoma, Utah, Washington, and Florida – with a combined GDP of £3.3tn, just under the GDP of Germany. The UK is also actively engaging with further states including Texas, California, Colorado, and Illinois.

Kemi Badenoch (pic) said: “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. The signing 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.

“I want to thank Governor DeSantis and his team for helping to make this MoU happen.” Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said: “Florida is the national leader for business growth and economic development, and this MOU signing will continue to ensure our state remains the model for American excellence.

“I am honoured to stand today with MP Badenoch to strengthen the economic partnership between our state and the United Kingdom.” UKspace Chair John Hanley said: “Space is a global business – and the United States is one of the UK’s most significant trading partners.

UKspace welcomes this MoU – the first focused on space – and looks forward to it delivering new opportunities for companies of all sizes throughout the UK space industry, as well as counterparts in Florida. This will deepen our relationships with space companies in Florida and open up new prospects for collaboration and driving mutually beneficial trade and investment on both sides of the Atlantic.”

The MoUs signed with US states are already delivering for UK companies. Cambridge-based Marshall Aerospace is opening a new aircraft maintenance facility and engineering hub at the Piedmont Triad International Airport in North Carolina – an investment worth $50m that will create 240 local jobs.

The company has credited the UK’s relationship with North Carolina and our recent MoU for enabling the environment for their investment. The US is the UK’s largest trading partner and the biggest investor in the UK.

Every day more than one million people get up and go to work for British companies in America, and almost 1.5 million people do the same for American companies in the UK. The UK has a “twin-track” approach to increasing trade with the US, working with individual states to boost trade, including through MoUs, while also engaging with the federal government to unlock opportunities at a national level.

On 8th June the Prime Minister Sunak and President Biden announced the Atlantic Declaration – a first-of-its-kind action plan covering our economic, technological, commercial and trade relations. As part of that we agreed to explore ways to grow trade between the UK and the US, already worth £310 billion, and to launch talks on a Critical Minerals Agreement to ensure this strategically important UK sector can better access the US market.