Florida Governor DeSantis meets Britain's foreign minister in London

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LONDON (Reuters) - Ron DeSantis met Britain's foreign minister James Cleverly during a visit to London on Friday aimed at boosting economic ties, ahead of an expected announcement by the Florida governor that he will run for U.S. president.

DeSantis has been on an international tour this week as he prepares to launch a 2024 presidential bid that would pit him against former President Donald Trump for the Republican nomination.

"The Foreign Secretary met Governor Ron DeSantis in London today to discuss the close and important partnership between the UK and Florida," a foreign ministry spokesperson said.

"This meeting was an opportunity to strengthen ties with the fourth-largest U.S. state, and support bilateral economic cooperation that is already worth more than 5 billion pounds ($6.2 billion) a year."

DeSantis is embroiled in a battle with the Walt Disney Co over a Florida measure banning classroom discussion of sexuality and gender identity with young children. On Thursday he said a lawsuit filed against him by Disney was politically motivated.

He was also due to meet Business and Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch on Friday afternoon, and hold talks with businesses in London. A spokesperson for Badenoch's department declined to comment on what they characterised as a private meeting.

Britain has pursued trade accords with individual U.S. states as talks over a free trade agreement with the United States government have been frozen.

Britain has agreed state-level deals with Oklahoma, Indiana, North Carolina and South Carolina so far.

($1 = 0.8022 pound)

(Reporting by Alistair Smou; editing by Jonathan Oatist)