October 13, 2017

Gov. LePage leads delegation at Arctic Circle Assembly

Foto: Courtesy / Matthew Gagnon, Wikimedia Commons
Foto: Courtesy / Matthew Gagnon, Wikimedia Commons
Gov. Paul LePage is in Iceland this week, leading a group of 50 Mainers who are participating in the Arctic Circle Assembly and private business development meetings in Reykjavik.

About the Arctic Circle Assembly

The Arctic Circle Assembly is the largest network of international dialogue and cooperation on the future of the Arctic. It is an open democratic platform with participation from governments, organizations, corporations, universities, think tanks, environmental associations, indigenous communities, concerned citizens and others interested in the development of the Arctic and its consequences for the future of the globe. It is a nonprofit and nonpartisan organization that hosts an annual assembly in its home city, Reykjavik, Iceland.

A group of 50 Mainers led by Gov. Paul R. LePage is in Reykjavik, Iceland, this week to participate in the Arctic Circle Assembly and private business development meetings.

The event is the largest network of international dialogue and cooperation on the future of the Arctic.

"Eimskip's decision to relocate operations to Portland in 2013 began this dynamic relationship between Maine and this increasingly important part of the world," LePage said in a news release. "The size of this year's delegation illustrates Maine's serious commitment to expanding our presence and strengthening relationships with partners in the Arctic region. My administration is continually seeking ways to grow Maine's economy."

Dana Eidsness, director of the Maine North Atlantic Development Office at Maine International Trade Center, said it's the fourth year that Maine has participated in the Arctic Circle Assembly's discussions.

"The assembly has been and remains the foundation for MENADO's partners, developing productive networks for high North Atlantic engagement," she said. "Maine has a lot to offer the Arctic Circle audience, and each year we've integrated Maine experts a little more into the agenda. This year, 12 Mainers will present in breakout and plenary sessions at this leading international event."

With a schedule arranged by MITC, LePage will meet with Iceland's president and the minister of foreign affairs as well as with Icelandic business leaders.

MENADO has organized a number of private meetings for participating Maine businesses at the Arctic Circle Assembly. These include meetings with Greenland's government and business community to discuss plans for development of Nuuk (Greenland's capital), highlighting the opportunity for Maine to leverage newly expanded container service to Greenland via Eimskip. Such trade could service Greenland's market needs for food and grocery items, retail goods and building materials, MENADO stated in its news release.

During the Arctic Circle Assembly, MENADO and partners will host the first standing committee meeting of an initiative that organizes port cities in Maine, Canada, Greenland, Iceland, the Faroe Islands and Norway for joint business development. Maine businesses and academic institutions attending the assembly also will explore potential Arctic business development and academic exchanges, with interests ranging from marine sciences, aquaculture, tourism and health policy to international business and polar law.

"After nearly four years of robust engagement, it's time to review Maine's memorandum of understanding with Iceland to determine where we go from here," said Wade Merritt, president of MITC. "Maine's business community has embraced Iceland as both a market and as a hub to other high north markets; we've had successful business, academic and cultural exchanges. The governor's participation elevates our visibility increasing the possibilities for new profitable ventures."

The Arctic Circle Assembly runs through Oct. 15.


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