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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (KMIZ)
Lawmakers in Jefferson City and an audience at Westminister College heard from a high-ranking official from the United Kingdom on Tuesday about trade, international collaboration and support for Ukraine.
U.K. Foreign Minister James Cleverly's appearance follows Gov. Mike Parson's visit to the United Kingdom in an effort to open up trade and foster good relations between Missouri and the U.K. Cleverly addressed the full House chamber Tuesday morning. Following his visit to the Capitol, Cleverly traveled to Fulton to speak at the National Churchill Museum.
"It was 76 years ago that Winston Churchill came to Fulton Missouri and proclaimed the special relationship between our two great nations," Cleverly said.
A bipartisan group went to the U.K. with Parson, which included two state senators, two representatives and members of his office staff. State Rep. Derek Grier (R-Chesterfield) and State Rep. Donna Baringer (D-St. Louis) were the representatives to attend.
“Minister Cleverly’s visit to Missouri and to the National Churchill Museum reminds us to focus once again on the need to stand against tyranny, together," Grier said. "It is essential that we continue to build a stronger bond in these troubling times, and I am proud to stand, along with the State of Missouri, alongside our allies.”
Barigner said she learned of the U.K.'s problems with grain during her visit. Ukraine provides 40% of Europe's bread, but with ongoing conflict, that's no longer happening.
"We expect in the state of Missouri that we will see our grain heading over to the UK, however, it'll also mean our food prices might go up," Baringer said. "If your neighbor was starving and hungry, would you help your neighbor out? And pretty much most people will agree if it costs us a little more for our bread in the United State, and it's at the cost of trying to make children safe from being bombed in another country and keep their democracy safe, I don't think people will complain."
Lt. Gov. Mike Kehoe said he was concerned about the bread problem after his meeting with Cleverly. However, since Missouri is an agricultural state, Kehoe said he is glad to trade with the U.K.
"What we take for granted that we do here in Missouri, it's always good to share with our trading partners from around the world, especially in the U.K.," Kehoe said.
Cleverly said trade between the U.K. and the United States is valued at around $600 million a year. Cleverly said his goal is to foster such good relations between the state and the U.K. that he makes Missouri "famous."
"My aim, our aim as the U.K. government, is to build as strong as possible relationship between the United Kingdom and not just the United States at a federal level, but the United States at a state level," Cleverly said.