The United Kingdom and the State of South Carolina held their first-ever government-to-government working group meeting on June 16, 2023, in Columbia, SC. This significant event, conducted under the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on cooperation and trade relations, aimed to strengthen ties and explore collaborative opportunities across various sectors.
Leading the working group were Consul General Rachel Galloway, representing the United Kingdom in Atlanta, and Ashely Teasdel, Deputy Secretary of Commerce for South Carolina. The meeting brought together officials from both governments to foster enhanced cooperation, share best practices, and identify potential areas for increased bilateral trade in automotive, advanced manufacturing, life sciences, and state procurement sectors.
The UK and South Carolina have a strong trading relationship, with South Carolina exporting goods worth £1.2 billion to the UK and importing goods worth £1.3 billion from the UK in 2022. Notably, South Carolina hosts subsidiaries of several UK companies, including Doncasters Trucast Inc, GKN Aerospace, and Sigmatex. These UK-based companies contribute significantly to the local economy, providing employment to over 12,000 South Carolinians. Furthermore, nearly 5,000 jobs in South Carolina are supported by exports to the UK.
Both South Carolina and the UK have agreed to facilitate bilateral policy exchanges and research and development collaborations. These initiatives will lay the groundwork for a future session scheduled for late 2023, where industry representatives will join the discussions. This concerted effort aims to deliver tangible benefits to businesses in both the UK and South Carolina.
The inaugural working group meeting serves as a solid foundation for strengthening the partnership and underscores the commitment of both parties to foster a thriving trade relationship. By exchanging expertise, exploring new trade avenues, and encouraging private sector engagement, the UK and South Carolina aim to stimulate economic growth, create employment opportunities, and promote prosperity for their respective communities.
The successful collaboration between the UK and South Carolina highlights their shared vision for a dynamic and mutually beneficial trade partnership. The working group meeting marks a significant step forward in realizing these ambitions, ensuring that businesses in both regions can leverage the opportunities and advantages offered by this strong alliance.