U.K. minister meets with governor, lawmakers about trade, war in Ukraine

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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – A top official from the United Kingdom met with Gov. Mike Parson and lawmakers Tuesday inside the State Capitol to discuss trade between the two countries.

More than 75 years after Winston Church Hill spoke in Fulton, Missouri, the U.K. Minister of State for Europe and North America said the value of trade with Missouri is nearly $600 million annually and the reason why he made the trip.

During his time inside the Capitol, he also talked about the effects of the war in Ukraine has on the Show Me State.

One month after the governor traveled to London and Cambridge, Minister James Cleverly came to Missouri.

“It is my pleasure this morning to introduce one of the most influential and distinguished diplomats in the world, as Minister of State, he is responsible for all of North America and Europe,” Rep. Derek Grier (R-Chesterfield) said while introducing Cleverly on the House floor.

In his first trip to the state, Cleverly said everyone is feeling the effects of the war in Ukraine.

“The U.S. is a big place, a lot of natural resources, and you have a nice big chunk of sea between you and your neighbors east and west; but it’s going to hit you here. It’s going to hit everyone,” Cleverly told lawmakers.

Cleverly spent the morning with Parson discussing agriculture and trade before he spoke to lawmakers about the importance of Missouri in the U.K.

“Our trade links are also so strong with Missouri hosting more than 60 British companies,” Cleverly said. “Nearly 30 of your companies have bases on our side of the pond, including Hallmark.”

Missouri exported more than $350 million in goods to the U.K. last year, including non-electrical machinery and chemicals.

Grier traveled with Parson on the trade mission to the U.K. and Ireland last month. He also heads the Friends of the U.K. Caucus.

“Given the state of international events, this is a tremendously important relationship,” Grier said. “It’s good to have friends and allies who we can trade with, who we can share a rich history with and who can help us fight evil when it rears its ugly head as we are seeing right now in the world.”

Cleverly mentioned the importance of research between done between Missouri’s largest university and the United Kingdom.

“The University of Missouri is partnering with the Agri-Food and Bioscience institute in Belmont to model the factors that affect supply and demand,” Cleverly said. “We’re combining our scientific and technological expertise in food production and on advanced manufacturing.”

He also praised the U.S. and U.K.’s joint effort to make Russia pay the price for the attack on Ukraine.

“Together we are making Putin pay the price for his actions and demonstrating the strength of opposition to his aggression,” Cleverly said. “With the crisis in Ukraine, this work is more important now than ever.”

Cleverly expects the trade and relationship between Missouri and the United Kingdom to continue to grow in the future.

“To be honest with you, if I ask the British people what’s the benefit of our relationship with Missouri, they probably wouldn’t be able to say off the top of their head,” Cleverly said. “I want them to understand better the reason why this relationship is strong.”

After leaving Jefferson City, Cleverly spoke at the Winston Churchill Museum in Fulton before heading to Chicago.