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UK and Florida Hold Inaugural Working Group Meeting

The first working group meeting under the UK-Florida MoU on trade and economic co-operation was held in Tallahassee, FL.

On Tuesday 30 April 2024, representatives of the UK and state of Florida Governments attended the inaugural government-to-government working group meeting created under the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on trade and economic co-operation in Tallahassee.

Rufus Drabble, His Majesty’s Consul General in Miami, co-chaired the meeting with Alex Kelly, Secretary of the Florida Department of Commerce.

Consul General Rufus Drabble said:

Our discussions were focused and constructive and demonstrate our strong shared commitment to the strategic UK-FL partnership.

We have an ambitious pipeline for the next 12 months and I look forward to collaborating with the State to leverage the MoU to open all doors to further expand our trade and investment.

Florida Secretary of Commerce J. Alex Kelly said:

While this meeting is the first official meeting of its kind, Florida has already hit the ground running with the UK since the MOU was signed in November 2023.

The actionable and impactful collaboration between Florida and the UK is one that will strengthen both of our economies for generations to come.

Attendees met to coordinate the implementation of the MoU and discussed opportunities for increasing bilateral trade and an exchange of best practices in life sciences, space and fintech. Attendees also explored opportunities to progress recognition of professional qualifications and encourage private sector participation in government procurement markets, with further activity planned for 2024. The UK is currently the top foreign investor in Florida and the state supplies the UK with a wide range of products including aviation and aerospace products.

The MoU is the first the UK has signed which focuses on the aerospace sector. Florida is home to the NASA Kennedy Space Center, as well as the new STARCOM headquarters in Patrick Space Force Base opening at the end of 2024, and has world-leading capabilities in launch infrastructure, manufacturing, and satellite development, presenting huge opportunities for the UK’s growing space industry. In 2023, income from the sector was worth over £17.5 billion and employing nearly 50,000 people.

The UK and Florida agreed next steps for MoU implementation, including the following:

Life Sciences: 2024 will see the launch of the UK-Florida Life Sciences Trade Corridor where 30 UK companies will participate in a four-city roadshow in Florida’s key Life Sciences and Innovation clusters.

Space: DBT will organise a delegation of UK Space companies to Florida for the end of 2024 and will be supporting Florida’s participation at the Farnborough Air Show in July.

Fintech: The UK will promote Florida as a key “market entry point” for Fintech companies seeking to enter US and Latin American markets, and will coordinate several trade delegations for 2024 aimed at exploring new business opportunities across the state, including opportunities around insurance.

Trade Policy: Policy leads will hold further discussions on mutual recognition of professional qualifications on architecture and engineering, in the context of wider mutual recognition agreements between UK and US bodies. They will also continue cooperation between the UK Government and the Florida Department of Management Services (DMS) on access to government procurement markets, including participation by DMS in an explanatory webinar for interested UK vendors.

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