The British Consul General in Chicago called for a free trade agreement between the United States and the United Kingdom, during an address this week to the Missouri House in Jefferson City.

British Consul General John Saville (left) listens as Senator Roy Blunt addresses the Missouri House on April 4, 2018. House Speaker Todd Richardson is on Mr. Saville’s left (photo courtesy of Tim Bommel at House Communications)

British Consul General John Saville tells House members that the United Kingdom is the fourth-largest export market for Missouri companies.

“Missouri goods and services exports to the U.K. are worth well over $1 billion annually and support over 8,000 jobs here,” Saville says.

Saville says a trade working group has been formed.

He tells lawmakers that about 150 British companies currently employ more than 23,000 Missourians, adding that Missouri-based companies Monsanto and Emerson Electric employ thousands in the United Kingdom.

St. Louis-based Monsanto’s website describes the company as “a global modern agriculture company.” Monsanto has facilities in 69 nations.

Ferguson-based Emerson’s website says its “newly energized focus” is on its two core business platforms: automation solutions and commercial and residential solutions.

Saville says about one million people in the U.K. work for American companies, and that about one million Americans work for British companies.

He says tariffs between the two nations are low.

Saville also addressed security issues during Wednesday’s address, describing the United States as the United Kingdom’s greatest ally.

He says Missouri is the “birthplace of the special relationship” between the U.S. and the United Kingdom.

“Later today, I’ll be following in the footsteps of Winston Churchill when he visited Westminster College (in Fulton) at the invitation of President and Missourian Harry Truman over 70 years ago to deliver his Sinews of Peace,” says Saville.

The speech was later called the “Iron Curtain” speech.

Then-President Truman (D) joined Churchill at the 1946 event at Westminster College, which drew about 30,000 people to Fulton.

During a 2017 interview with Missourinet, former U.S. Sen. John Danforth noted that Churchill did not call it the “Iron Curtain” speech.

“He (Churchill) called the speech ‘Sinews of Peace’, meaning binding the world together, the post-World War II world together, free nations together, in the face of the threat of the Soviet Union and the Iron Curtain,” Danforth told Missourinet in 2017.

During Wednesday’s address in Jefferson City, Saville blasted Russia for recent actions, noting 60 Russian diplomats were expelled from the United States.

Bagpipe players from the Boone County Fire Protection District perform in the Missouri House on April 4, 2018 (photo courtesy of Tim Bommel at House Communications)

Saville tells lawmakers the partnership between the U.S. and the United Kingdom “is vital to international peace and security.”

The Boone County Fire Protection District’s bagpipe players were in the House chamber, performing before Mr. Saville’s address.