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October 19, 2018

Gov. LePage heads to Iceland to participate in Arctic Circle Assembly

Photo / Chris Cary, Soli DG Inc
Photo / Chris Cary, Soli DG Inc
Gov. Paul LePage, shown with the 50 Mainers who joined him in the 2017 Arctic Circle Assembly in Reykjavik, Iceland, is leading another group to the annual event this coming week. As in previous years, Maine International Trade Center and Maine North Atlantic Development Office have organized a number of events in Iceland to highlight economic and cultural development opportunities in Maine.

About the Maine North Atlantic Development Office

The Maine North Atlantic Development Office facilitates the development of North Atlantic/Arctic networks connecting Maine businesses, educators and innovation leaders with regional opportunities for trade in goods, services and innovation exchanges. MENADO is an initiative of the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development and is housed within the Maine International Trade Center in Portland.

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.

Gov. Paul R. LePage is leading a delegation of more than 40 Mainers to Reykjavik, Iceland, who will participate in the 2018 Arctic Circle Assembly, the largest network of international dialogue and cooperation on the future of the Arctic.

On Saturday, LePage will meet with Iceland's Minister of Foreign Affairs Gudlaugur Thor Thordarson to re-sign the Maine-Iceland memorandum of understanding as a symbol of renewed commitment to strengthen ties and increase cooperation in the areas of economic development, trade, energy, natural resources, transportation, culture and the arts.

The original memorandum between Maine and the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Iceland was signed in June 2014.

"My administration's investment in the International Marine Terminal in Portland and Eimskip's subsequent decision to relocate operations there in 2013 began a 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."

Denise Garland, acting commissioner of the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development, said the delegation is the fifth straight year Maine has participated in the Arctic Circle Assembly's discussions.

"We created the Maine North Atlantic Development Office at Maine International Trade Center in 2014 to develop Maine's relationships in the region," she said. "Our annual participation in the assembly furthers our high North Atlantic engagement, both highlighting Maine's expertise and available opportunities and making connections with businesses and delegation members from other parts of the region."

Highlighting Maine businesses

With a schedule arranged by Maine International Trade Center, LePage is hosting a Maine reception, participating in economic development discussions with delegations from Greenland and Scotland and meeting with Iceland's Minister of Foreign Affairs as well as with Icelandic business leaders.

"Maine's business community has embraced Iceland as both a market and as a hub to other High North markets," said MITC President Wade Merritt. "Connections made here in previous years have resulted in successful business, academic and cultural exchanges. The governor's participation again this year elevates Maine's visibility, increasing the possibilities for new profitable ventures, and is an important follow up to our recent trade mission to the United Kingdom and Ireland."

MENADO has organized a number of private meetings for participating Maine businesses and academic institutions. A Maine-Greenland Economic Development Meeting will include updates on Nuuk City Development and Greenland's airport expansion projects with the goal of identifying opportunities for mutual benefit. MENADO also will host an informal meeting with Scotland Highlands and Islands Enterprise staff to discuss economic development, business collaboration and a potential trade/outreach event in Scotland in 2019.

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