The West Palm Beach, Florida skyline reflected over a body of water
May 3, 2024

UK and Florida Hold Inaugural Working Group Meeting

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

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – 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 cooperation in Tallahassee. Rufus Drabble, His Majesty’s Consul General in Miami, co-chaired the meeting with Florida Secretary of Commerce J. Alex Kelly.

“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,” said Consul General Rufus Drabble.

“This week’s kickoff meeting was the culmination of six months of Florida and UK trade managers collaborating in aerospace, aviation, finance, insurance, health tech, transportation and procurement,” said Florida Secretary of Commerce J. Alex Kelly. “The already impactful Florida-UK partnership is one that will show its job creation and investment possibilities at this summer’s Farnborough Air Show and trade missions 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. A great example of collaboration in the sector, last year saw the delivery of Project Poseidon with UK’s BAE Systems in Jacksonville, a $201 million conduit financing project for ship repair facility that is touted by the State as one of the most successful collaboration projects to-date.

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

Life Sciences: 2024 will see the launch 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 organize a delegation of UK Space companies to Florida for end of 2024 and will be supporting Florida’s participation in the Farnborough Air Show which Florida will attend with a large delegation headed by Lieutenant Governor Jeannette Nunez and Florida Secretary of Commerce J. Alex Kelly.

Fintech: UK will promote Florida as key “market entry point” for Fintech companies seeking to enter US/ Latin American markets, it will seek to replicate elements of Insurance Innovation Corridor previously established in Connecticut, and will coordinate several trade delegations for 2024 aimed at exploring new business opportunities across the state.