- Gov. Ron DeSantis is leading a trade mission to Japan, South Korea, Israel, and the United Kingdom alongside First Lady Casey DeSantis, Florida Secretary of State Cord Byrd, and Florida Secretary of Commerce Laura DiBella.
- The mission aims to build on existing economic relationships and expand partnerships
- Florida has over 200 Japanese companies employing more than 22,000 Floridians, and bilateral trade between Florida and Japan exceeds $6.6 billion
- Florida’s merchandise trade with South Korea exceeds $1.3 billion, and bilateral trade with Israel reached $651 million in 2022. British companies account for 67,000 jobs in Florida, and the UK is one of the largest sources of overseas visitors to the state.
Gov. Ron DeSantis announced on Thursday that he, alongside First Lady Casey DeSantis, Florida Secretary of State Cord Byrd, and Florida Secretary of Commerce Laura DiBella, will conduct an international trade mission next week to Japan, South Korea, Israel, and the United Kingdom.
Per a statement put out by the governor, the mission is aimed at building on economic relationships that Florida has with each of the four countries, including ways in which economic partnerships can be expanded.
“Florida has the 15th largest economy in the world, and that is because our state has worked to create partnerships with other countries to create jobs and boost the economy,” said DeSantis. “This trade mission will give us the opportunity to strengthen economic relationships and continue to demonstrate Florida’s position as an economic leader.”
The Floridian delegation is slated to meet with Japan Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi, as well as business executives.
Florida is home to over 200 Japanese companies, which employ over 22,000 Floridians with holdings totaling more than $5.2 billion. Bilateral trade between Florida and Japan exceeds $6.6 billion, making it Florida’s 2nd largest bilateral merchandise trade partner in the Asia-Pacific region and Florida’s 7th largest partner overall.
Late last year, Florida played host to the 44th Annual Southeastern United States – Japan Trade Conference (SEUS-Japan) in Orlando, where as host Governor, DeSantis delivered opening remarks to a group of approximately 400 business and government leaders from Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee, who met with a sizable Japanese delegation led by Japanese Ambassador Koji Tomita.
“We have threats in this world to free societies. and if you look at the Asia Pacific region, the number one challenge that free people have to deal with is the rise of China and the Chinese Communist Party,” DeSantis said at the conference. “And if you look at those threats there’s no way those can be managed without a strong Japan and a strong United States relationship.”
After meeting with Japanese officials, DeSantis and co. will travel to South Korea, where they will meet with government leaders, including Gyeonggi Province Governor Kim Dong-yeon and Prime Minister Han Duck-soo. According to the governor’s office, merchandise trade between Florida and South Korea exceeds $1.3 billion, making it Florida’s 7th largest bilateral trade partner in the Asia and Middle East region.
The third leg of the trip will take place in Israel, where DeSantis is scheduled to deliver the keynote address at an event to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the founding of Israel.
While in Israel, the Florida delegation will meet with government leaders and Israeli companies that have invested or are interested in investing in Florida. Bilateral trade between Florida and Israel reached $651 million in 2022.
The trade mission concludes in the United Kingdom (UK), where DeSantis will meet with business executives from companies with significant investments in Florida and government leaders, including the Foreign Minister of the United Kingdom, James Cleverly. British companies account for 67,000 jobs in Florida, making the UK the top foreign investor in Florida.
Florida and the UK maintain a longstanding relationship in the tourism industry, with the European nation representing one of the largest sources of overseas visitors to The Sunshine State, accounting for 1.1 million visits in the previous year alone. Moreover, a growing number of British-owned companies have launched operations in Florida, including Barclays Bank, BAE Systems, and HSBC Holdings.