Badenoch signs Florida MOU beside DeSantis and says 'a lot' of issues resolved for country-wide deal

Thu 16 Nov 2023
Posted by: William Barns-Graham
Trade News

Flag of state of Florida flying in front of a palm tree

The UK and Florida signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to boost trade and investment on Tuesday (14 November), with business and trade secretary Kemi Badenoch saying progress was also being made with the US federal government on a broader agreement.

Badenoch signed the MOU in Florida alongside governor Ron DeSantis and said that she sees “huge opportunities” for UK businesses in the US’ fourth largest state.

The deal focuses on space, financial technology, artificial intelligence and legal services, and is the seventh that the UK has agreed with a US state.

She told Reuters that she had also had “very, very good conversations” with US trade representative Katherine Tai at a recent G7 summit on a national agreement and that “quite a lot” of issues had already been settled.

Limited impact

The UK adopted a strategy of pursuing state-level deals after president Joe Biden said that his administration would not pursue a federal trade agreement with the UK.

However, Sam Lowe, partner at Flint Global, told the Guardian that state-level deals have a limited impact compared to country-wide agreements because they don’t include preferential tariffs.

The UK did, however, secure a country-wide agreement of sorts with the US in June, when president Biden and prime minister Rishi Sunak signed the Atlantic declaration, which enhanced ties over advanced technologies, clean energy and critical minerals.

CPTPP

The UK also secured an agreement to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) earlier this year and Badenoch was in California yesterday (15 November) to attend the latest in-person CPTPP summit of ministers.

The meeting coincided with the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) conference in San Francisco that was attended by Biden and Chinese president Xi Jinping.

“As CPTPP’s first ever new member, and the only European member, we are linking the UK to some of the world’s most dynamic economies, giving British businesses first-mover advantage in some of the fastest-growing markets in the world, and supporting jobs and economic growth right across the country,” she said on gov.uk.

She also met with California governor Gavin Newsom while on her travels, with talks ongoing for another state-level deal.