Last month, British Consul General Stephen Bridges visited Missouri to further strengthen the economic and political connections between the United Kingdom and Missouri. As Her Majesty’s Honorary Consul of the United Kingdom for Missouri, I had the privilege of arranging the visit in partnership with Missouri’s International Trade Lead, Ann Pardalos, and working to ensure the visit was a powerful opportunity to strengthen the connections between the United Kingdom and Missouri.
Speaking on the floor of the Missouri House of Representatives at the invitation of Speaker Richardson, the Consul General spoke of the 300-year history between Missouri and the UK, built on three pillars—business, politics and working together against common foes. He did also make mention of the rare occasions in the late 1700s and early 1800s when we didn’t get along quite as well as we do today.
“The biggest foreign investor in the United States has been, is, and will continue to be the United Kingdom,” Consul General Bridges told the assembled legislators.
In totality, the UK and the US have a multi-billion dollar trade and investment relationship with the UK listed by CBI as the top investor in the US economy. And every morning a million people in the UK get up and go to work for US companies, and a million people in the US get up, a few hours later, and go to work for UK companies.
In 2016, Missouri sent $302 million in goods to the UK. And the UK sent $340 million in goods back our way. In the services industry the relationship is even stronger. Missouri’s services exports to the UK in 2015 totaled $818 million. This trade supports 8,300 jobs. Missouri is also home to about 150 companies that have British ownership, with more than 23,000 Missourians working for them every day. All in, there’s a $1.12 billion annual investment by the UK in Missouri, making the UK Missouri’s 4thlargest export market in 2015.
Missouri exports to the UK include computer equipment, pharmaceuticals and medicines, chemicals, metals and more. A small category, but an important one for me personally is wooden barrels used extensively in the production of Scotch. Coming the other way, beverages, machinery, chemicals, and electronics top the list of British exports to Missouri.
On the service side of the trade relationship, the $818 million in exports to the UK include travel, financial services, insurance and data services.
And in case you were wondering, some of the British companies that have set up shop in Missouri are AB Mauri (Associated British Foods), Bull Moose Tube (Caparo Industries), Thomson Reuters, The Weir Group, Amdocs, BP, Bunzl, GKN, Unilever and GlaxoSmithKline. And Missouri companies investing in the UK include Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Build-A-Bear, Cerner, Emerson, Energizer, H&R Block, Hallmark Cards, Reinsurance Group of America, and Stifel Financial.
The Missouri and UK economies partner to create a great trade and investment relationship that creates and supports jobs on both sides of the Pond. It truly is, as Sir Winston Churchill first claimed during his 1946 “Sinews of Peace” speech in Fulton, Missouri, a special relationship.