JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Members of the Missouri House of Representatives announced Thursday the formation of the Friends of the United Kingdom (UK) Caucus to support and grow the vibrant economic, scientific, academic and cultural connections between Missouri and the UK.
“In a time when the United Kingdom is engaged in negotiations with the US on a free trade agreement (FTA), it is important that Missouri has a voice and an influence on the future of this important relationship,” said Rep. Derek Grier, R-Chesterfield, Chair of the House Economic Development Committee and the inaugural Chair of the UK Caucus. “Missouri’s economic relationship with the UK already exceeds $2 billion annually, and our goal is to increase that going forward.”
Currently there are more than 50 British companies in Missouri, including AB Mauri, AON, Bunzl, Caparo Group, GKN Aerospace, GSK, Unilever and WPP. And more than 25 Missouri companies have a presence in the UK including Enterprise, Hallmark, Cerner, Stifel, Lockton and Emerson.
“Missouri and the United Kingdom have powerful innovative ecosystems and deep cultural ties. Together, we can build a strong, global, forward-looking partnership that will impact the world,” said Rep. Greg Razer, D-Kansas City, inaugural Vice Chair of the UK Caucus. “In this important time, when the eyes of the United Kingdom are on the US and focused on increasing trade, investment and partnerships, it is imperative that Missouri be out in front and building more connectivity on the solid foundations that already exist.”
“Missouri is the birthplace of the special relationship thanks to Sir Winston Churchill’s 1946 speech in Fulton, Missouri,” said the Honorable Mark Sutherland, British Hon. Consul to Missouri. “And this relationship is dynamic and growing, especially in the agriculture and agtech sectors. There are numerous active collaborations and partnerships taking place today between Missouri and the UK, and to have the support of Missouri’s elected leadership is smashing.”
The Friends of the UK Caucus will focus on ensuring Missouri interests are supported in the US/UK FTA, building a strong relationship between Missouri and the UK; discussing trade and investment opportunities between Missouri and the UK; and identifying and discussing issues relevant to a continued, growing and positive relationship between Missouri and the UK as both regions work on economic recovery and growth efforts in a global marketplace.
“We warmly welcome the establishment of the Missouri House of Representatives Friends of the United Kingdom Caucus,” said British Consul General to the Midwest Alan Gogbashian. “The UK and Missouri have long enjoyed a close relationship, and we look forward to working with Caucus members as we continue to strengthen our economic and political ties.”
The other founding members of the Friends of the United Kingdom Caucus are: Rep. Dottie Bailey, R-Eureka; Rep. Phil Christofanelli, R-St. Peters; Rep. Bruce DeGroot, R-Ellisville; Rep. Hannah Kelley, R-Mountain Grove; Rep. Tracy McCreery, D-St. Louis; Rep. John Wiemann, R-O’Fallon; Rep. Jim Murphy, R-St. Louis; Rep. Wiley Price, D-St. Louis; Rep. Doug Richey, R-Excelsior Springs; Rep. Cody Smith, R-Carthage; Rep. Adam Schnelting, R-St. Charles; and Rep. Curtis Trent, R-Springfield.