BREXIT BRITAIN: UK signs 5th US state-level trade agreement

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The UK will today sign a new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) designed to grow trade with Utah, a US state with a GDP of £201 billion in 2022 – equivalent to the economy of New Zealand.

The pact, which will be signed by International Trade Minister Nigel Huddleston and Utah Governor Spencer Cox, is the fifth arrangement of its kind between the UK and a US state and signifies a milestone in the UK’s trade ties with Utah.

The pact aims to strengthen our trading relationship with Utah, establishing a framework to unlock export opportunities for UK businesses, encourage investment, and create jobs in the UK – contributing to the government’s priority to grow the economy.

The UK already has MoUs in place with Indiana, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Oklahoma, through which the UK is helping companies meet new commercial partners to develop their businesses.

The UK is currently working with about 20 US states to secure individual trade deals, with the first eight alone accounting for about 20% of the U.S. economy. It is hoped deals with states such as Texas, California Colorado, and Florida will follow soon.

International Trade Minister Nigel Huddleston said:

Our MoU with Utah builds on our existing strong relationship by helping us unlock new opportunities for British businesses, particularly those in the fintech sector in which Britain is a global leader.

The deals we have agreed with US states are already supporting UK businesses to grow their commercial links across the Atlantic. I am delighted to welcome the delegation from North Carolina to the UK this week, as businesses seek to reap the rewards from our pacts and deepen economic ties.

UK companies already employ over 10,000 people in Utah and exported £219 million in goods last year, with the MoU seeking to boost this further. Utah exported £5.7 billion worth of goods to the UK in 2022, making it Utah’s top international goods export market. Exports to the UK supported over 38,000 jobs in the state in 2019.

The UK is a global centre of fintech, and the Utah MoU is the first agreed by the UK with any US state which includes fintech as a priority sector. The MoU also promotes cooperation on aerospace, an industry which employs over 100,000 people across the UK, building on shared expertise in areas such as small satellites.

The pact further enables collaboration on supply chain resilience, including critical minerals, capturing Utah’s position as a major source of critical minerals for the US market and supporting the UK’s critical minerals strategy.

In addition, the MoU facilitates joint work on life sciences, building on a strong UK industry which generated £94 billion in turnover in 2021.

More broadly, the MoU seeks to expand market access in areas such as government procurement and recognition of professional qualifications – to help Brits deliver services in Utah and vice versa and boost British services exports.

Utah Governor Spencer Cox said:

We have an excellent working relationship with the British Consulate in Los Angeles and our counterparts in the UK. This agreement will lead to more exchange of best practices, government-led missions, private-sector partnerships, academic cooperation and capital investment, and we look forward to the increased collaboration

Clayton Walker, Chief Operations Officer, Rio Tinto Copper based in Salt Lake City, Utah said:

With Rio Tinto’s headquarters in the UK and the operational excellence of our 120-year-old Kennecott mining operations in Utah, our success stands as a testament to the longstanding and close relations between the UK and Utah.

We are excited to see this relationship strengthening through the signing of this MoU, as we continue to find better ways to provide the critical minerals that the world needs to make our modern everyday life possible.”

Today [22 June] in Manchester, the Department for Business and Trade is also hosting the second working group meeting with North Carolina under the MoU signed last year. Minister for Exports, Lord Offord, and the Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to the US for Regional Trade and Investment, The Rt Hon Sir Conor Burns MP will be joined by more than twenty senior North Carolina officials, academic administrators, and economic developers, members of the Greater Manchester Combined Authority, and UK industry representatives.

The event will focus on advancing cooperation in future mobility, workforce development, and advanced manufacturing, helping UK companies in the automotive, clean energy and aerospace sectors to expand their engagement with the state, win government procurement contracts, and drive trade growth.

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper said:

It’s positive that North Carolina is building upon our relationship with the United Kingdom by working with the Manchester, Liverpool, and Wrexham to identify economic development opportunities across our shared priorities of clean energy and transportation.

We are grateful for the hospitality and look forward to hosting our friends from the UK in North Carolina.

Marshall Group CEO Kathy Jenkins said:

We believe Greensboro is the ideal home for our US Aerospace operations and are very grateful for the exceptional support and partnership we have received from Greensboro City Council and the State Government of North Carolina.

We are excited to put over 55 years of C-130 experience to work in providing an unmatched standard of in-country support for existing and new US-based partners and customers.

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