COLUMBIA, S.C. – Governor Henry McMaster today joined United Kingdom Trade Minister Greg Hands to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between South Carolina and the United Kingdom to strengthen cooperation and trade relations between the two.
"With economic development records being broken seemingly every year, South Carolina is entering an era of economic prosperity never before seen in state history," said Governor Henry McMaster. "Through this partnership with the United Kingdom, we further our momentum and provide South Carolina and our businesses with a competitive advantage over other states when competing for economic development and trade with the United Kingdom."
This is an effort to build upon South Carolina's already booming economy. Since taking office, Governor McMaster has announced over 69,000 new jobs and over $22.5 billion in new capital investment. This calendar year alone, the governor has announced over 10,000 new jobs and over $5.5 billion in new investment.
The agreement prioritizes research and development opportunities within the automotive and life sciences sectors. Both sectors have been a top priority of Governor McMaster. In April of 2021, he issued an executive order aimed at onshoring additional life sciences companies in South Carolina, and in October of 2022, he issued a similar executive order to focus the state's recruitment efforts on electric vehicle-related businesses.
"I am picking up the baton on our ambitious state-level programme from my predecessor who visited South Carolina exactly one year ago to kick off these discussions," said U.K. Minister of State for Trade Policy Greg Hands. “I’m here to build on these deep relations and strengthen our trade partnership for the future. The MOU I’m signing with Governor McMaster will help us work even more closely together to tackle trade barriers, attract capital investment, and deliver cutting-edge research and development.”
According to the Department of Commerce, the United Kingdom is South Carolina’s 6th largest import partner and 8th largest export partner. From the beginning of 2022 to September 2022, South Carolina imported goods worth almost $1.2 billion from the United Kingdom. For the same period, South Carolina has exported goods worth almost $1 billion to the United Kingdom. South Carolina is currently home to about 60 British companies that employ approximately 6,500 South Carolinians.
South Carolina is the third state to sign an MOU with the United Kingdom, joining Indiana and North Carolina.
A copy of the MOU can be found here.