Kemi Badenoch hails Brexit as she signs deal with Florida governor

Kemi Badenoch hails Brexit as she signs a trade deal with Florida governor Ron DeSantis… tapping into an economy larger than Spain

  •  Kemi Badenoch credited Brexit for enabling her to sign a trade deal with Florida

Kemi Badenoch credited Brexit for enabling her to sign a major trade deal with Florida last night.

The Business and Trade Secretary agreed the memorandum of understanding with the third most populous US state, which has an economy larger than Spain.

She also said progress was being made on a wider US trade deal, saying the aim was to ‘conclude very quickly’.

Hailing the deal with the sunshine state’s Republican governor – and presidential hopeful – Ron DeSantis, she told a press conference in Jacksonville: ‘The UK’s decision to gain independence from the EU and take back control of our trading policy is something that I know resonated with a lot of Americans.

‘And it’s that freedom that underpins for me the deal which we are signing today.’

Kemi Badenoch credited Brexit for enabling her to sign a major trade deal with Florida 

The Business and Trade Secretary agreed the memorandum of understanding with the third most populous US state, which has an economy larger than Spain

Pictured: Kemi Badenoch and Governor of Florida, Ron Desantis, sign the trade deal

Mrs Badenoch said Florida had an economic output of more than £1.1trillion, which was more than most European countries.

The agreement is targeted at sectors including space, financial tech, AI and legal services where the UK and Florida are leaders. It is also designed to boost exports and investment.

READ MORE – Ron DeSantis and Kemi Badenoch hail biggest US-UK trade deal so far as British trade chief praises Florida governor for ‘getting it done’ on pact with $1 trillion Sunshine State 

On the potential wider US trade deal, the Business Secretary told Reuters: ‘We have a target to conclude very quickly. The last bits are often the trickiest bits. But it’s going well.’

She said she had had ‘very, very good conversations’ with US trade representative Katherine Tai at a recent G7 meeting on the broader deal, and ‘quite a lot’ of issues had been agreed.

In June, Rishi Sunak and US President Joe Biden announced the Atlantic Declaration – deepening economic, technological and commercial ties and expanding trade.

However, the Free Trade Agreement Britain had hoped for under previous President Donald Trump is unlikely after Mr Biden froze talks after taking office in 2021.

Mr DeSantis met Mrs Badenoch during an April visit to London shortly before he announced his presidential bid for next year.

Trade between Britain and Florida is already worth more than £5billion a year.

Mr DeSantis said UK companies account for more than 70,000 jobs there, making Britain the top foreign investor.

She worked out the deal with the state’s Republican governor Ron DeSantis

Similar pacts have been signed with six other states – Indiana, North Carolina, South Carolina, Oklahoma, Utah and Washington – with combined economies of £3.3trillion, just less than German GDP.

And negotiations are continuing with others including Texas, California, Colorado, and Illinois.

‘Florida is a major economy in its own right, with a bigger GDP than most European countries,’ Mrs Badenoch said. 

‘Florida’s leading high-tech companies offer huge opportunities to the UK’s rapidly expanding tech sector.’ 

The agreement is the first the UK has signed which focuses on the space sector. Florida is home to the Nasa Kennedy Space Center.

The growing space industry at home is worth more than £17.5billion and employs nearly 50,000.

Mrs Badenoch said the Florida deal would help ‘unlock new possibilities for businesses in other industries of the future, whether it’s transportation, AI or semi-conductors.’

She added: ‘I have no doubt that this MOU is going to ignite some of the ideas and collaborations that will help shape the world to come.’

Asked about the appointment of former Remainer David Cameron as Foreign Secretary, Mrs Badenoch said: ‘We’re all Brexiteers now.’

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