Utah Gov. Spencer Cox signed two memorandums during his overseas trip encouraging investment and economic cooperation, one in the United Kingdom and one in France.

On Tuesday, Cox met with Renaud Muselier, president of France’s Region Sud, to sign a letter of intent to share best practices in tourism, and create a partnership between natural parks. It also emphasizes collaboration in “new technologies, innovation, and health care.”

And on Thursday, the Utah governor signed a memorandum of understanding with United Kingdom Trade Minister Nigel Huddleston to encourage investments in fintech, aerospace, supply chain resilience and life sciences.

This is the fifth time a U.S. state has signed a memorandum like this with the United Kingdom, which “marks a milestone in the U.K. trade ties with Utah,” the governor’s office said in a news release.

The memorandums do not create any legal obligations, nor do they allocate state funds.

It’s the latest in the governor’s trip abroad, which in addition to the trade missions included a stop in Morocco with the Utah National Guard, visiting the Paris Air Show and a quick break to sign HB2001, the law passed during the Utah Legislature’s special session to set new dates for the state’s upcoming special election.

“We have an excellent working relationship with the British Consulate in Los Angeles and our counterparts in the U.K.,” Cox said in a statement. “This agreement will lead to a broader exchange of best practices, government-led missions, private-sector partnerships, academic cooperation and capital investment, and we look forward to the increased collaboration.”

The letter of intent signed with Muselier is relatively brief, focusing mainly on tourism. France’s Region Sud, like Utah, is mountainous and has a robust tourist economy.

The memorandum with the United Kingdom is six pages, and includes 11 sections. It forms a working group between the two governments, and lists the following as “priority areas for focus and cooperation”:

  • Aerospace.
  • Health care and life sciences.
  • Fintech, or financial technology.
  • Supply chain resilience, including critical minerals.
  • Workforce development, which includes “supporting the workforce to meet the needs of high-demand, high-wage jobs created by innovation across all sectors, and the creation and preservation of high-quality jobs.”
  • Academic cooperation “through promoting collaborative projects, research and information exchange.”
  • Environmental quality, including “conservation and safeguarding the areas of land, air, and water, to maintain natural resources, and guard against pollution.”
  • Women’s economic empowerment.

The governor’s office said the trade pact will strengthen Utah’s trading relationship with the U.K., “unlocking opportunities for businesses to export more and encourage investment opportunities, which will in turn drive economic growth and create jobs.” 

The United Kingdom is Utah’s largest trading partner, the Governor’s Office of Economic Opportunity said in a news release. More than 10,700 Utahns work for United Kingdom subsidiaries, and 38,330 jobs in Utah are supported by exports to the country. In 2022, Utah surpassed $7 billion in exports to the United Kingdom.

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“Our MOU with Utah builds on our existing strong relationship and unlocks new opportunities for British businesses, particularly those in the fintech sector in which Britain is a global leader,” Huddleston said in a statement. “The MOUs we have agreed with U.S. states are already helping U.K. businesses grow their commercial links across the Atlantic.”

The trip was made possible by the World Trade Center Utah. Each organization that participates in the trade mission pays their own way, though grants are available for eligible small businesses.

Utah governors typically lead between two to three trade missions each year. Last year, Cox led a trip to Mexico in April, and one to Israel, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates in September.

“Trade missions provide Utah companies and their decision-makers the opportunity to connect with global leaders and establish valuable relationships,” the World Trade Center Utah said, noting that last year’s trips combined “garnered a combined $52.2 million in New Trade Opportunities for the state.”

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