Florida Governor Ron DeSantis to Lead International Trade Mission to Japan, South Korea, Israel, and UK

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, alongside First Lady Casey DeSantis, Florida Secretary of State Cord Byrd, and Florida Secretary of Commerce Laura DiBella, will conduct an international trade mission to Japan, South Korea, Israel, and the United Kingdom next week.[0] The mission is aimed at building on economic relationships that Florida has with each of the four countries, including ways in which economic partnerships can be expanded.[1] The governor explained that “Florida has the 15th largest economy in the world, and that is because our state has worked to create partnerships with other countries to create jobs and boost the economy.”[2] During his visit to Japan, DeSantis is scheduled to have meetings with Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi.[3] While in South Korea, he will meet with the Gyeonggi Province governor, Kim Dong-yeon, and Prime Minister Han Duck-soo.[4] DeSantis is scheduled to deliver a keynote speech in Israel on April 27, marking the 75th anniversary of Israel’s establishment.[4] He will also meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.[5] In the UK, DeSantis will meet with Foreign Minister James Cleverly.[6]

According to Enterprise Florida, as of 2020, over 22,000 Floridians were employed by various Japanese-owned companies, with bilateral trade exceeding $6.6 billion.[7] In South Korea, Florida has been working to attract companies to its state, with a focus on the aviation and aerospace industries. Florida and Israel’s bilateral trade reached $651 million in 2022, with bilateral merchandise trade growing by 65% in the last five years.[8] Israeli affiliates are estimated to hold a total of $647 million, making Israel the 19th largest foreign investor in the state of Florida.[9] In Florida, there are over 50 Israeli companies providing employment to more than 2,400 individuals.[9] Florida also has a strong tourism relationship with the UK, with over 1.1 million people visiting from the UK in 2022, and British companies accounting for 67,000 jobs in Florida, making the UK the top foreign investor in Florida.[2]

The trade mission is expected to highlight DeSantis’ foreign policy credentials as he inches toward a White House bid.[1] However, his views on world affairs have been under scrutiny recently, particularly after he offered a series of contradicting opinions on the war in Ukraine.[1] In March, DeSantis caused concern in Europe by seemingly catering to the isolationist faction within the Republican party. He described the Ukraine conflict as merely a territorial disagreement between Ukraine and Russia, indicating that it wasn’t a priority for the US to get more involved in the dispute.[6]

0. “DeSantis to visit Asia, Europe next week” Tampa Bay Times, 20 Apr. 2023, https://www.tampabay.com/news/florida-politics/2023/04/20/desantis-asia-europe-israel-japan-south-korea-uk/

1. “Ron DeSantis, facing challenges at home, will test presidential ambitions overseas” kuna noticias y kuna radio, 23 Apr. 2023, https://kesq.com/news/national-politics/cnn-us-politics/2023/04/23/ron-desantis-facing-challenges-at-home-will-test-presidential-ambitions-overseas/

2. “Florida governor Ron DeSantis to visit Britain as part of an international trade mission” Sky News, 20 Apr. 2023, https://news.sky.com/story/florida-governor-ron-desantis-to-visit-britain-as-part-of-an-international-trade-mission-12862195

3. “DeSantis kids preparing for international travel to Israel, Japan” Florida Politics, 19 Apr. 2023, https://floridapolitics.com/archives/604782-desantis-kids-preparing-for-international-travel-to-israel-japan

4. “DeSantis heads overseas amid 2024 presidential speculation” Washington Examiner, 21 Apr. 2023, https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/news/campaigns/desantis-heads-overseas-2024-speculation

5. “DeSantis heads abroad to Israel, UK and more before expected 2024 presidential run” Yahoo! Voices, 23 Apr. 2023, https://www.yahoo.com/gma/desantis-heads-abroad-israel-uk-191800411.html

6. “DeSantis to meet UK foreign secretary with eye on US presidential bid” The Guardian US, 21 Apr. 2023, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2023/apr/21/desantis-to-meet-cleverly-in-london-with-eye-on-us-presidential-bid

7. “DeSantis goes global with planned stops in Japan, South Korea, Israel, United Kingdom” AOL, 21 Apr. 2023, https://www.aol.com/news/desantis-goes-global-planned-stops-180050198.html

8. “State leaders to embark on international trade mission” The Capitolist, 20 Apr. 2023, https://thecapitolist.com/state-leaders-to-embark-on-international-trade-mission/

9. “Governor DeSantis Announces International Trade Mission to Europe, Mideast and Asia” WQCS, 20 Apr. 2023, https://www.wqcs.org/wqcs-news/2023-04-20/governor-desantis-announces-international-trade-mission

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