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Maine Trade Delegation Departs Iceland - Arrives in United Kingdom
AUGUSTA – The trade mission led by Governor LePage and Maine International Trade Center (MITC) to Iceland and the United Kingdom enters its final stage as the six-day visit to the North Atlantic region shifts from Reykjavik to London.
Governor LePage arrived in Reykjavik Tuesday for meetings with dignitaries and business leaders. Maine executives participated in business matchmaking meetings and toured some of the major industrial sites in Iceland, including geothermal plants, aluminum smelting and food processing and distribution operations. Governor LePage met with Gunnar Sveinsson, the Icelandic Minister for Foreign Affairs, and President Olafur Grimsson (photo attached) to put together the final details on a Memorandum of Understanding between the State of Maine and Iceland.
"This is the first step in officially recognizing the relationship between our two governments and outlining the trade and cultural exchanges that we would like to build on," said Governor Paul R. LePage. “Our goal is simple: we want to develop strong business relationships in this part of the world leading to new private investment and job opportunities for Maine people.”
The Governor also toured and participated in meetings with Thor Sigfusson, president of Iceland's Ocean House, an innovation incubator housing about 40 Icelandic companies involved in value added uses of seafood and ocean products. These companies are not only involved in food production, but also using cod and other species in biotech, pharmaceutical and medical products applications.
"We see some strong synergies with some of our innovative Maine companies and Research Labs," said Bob Martin, president of the Maine Technology Institute. "It’s great to have some of Maine’s seafood processors and universities with us to discuss this model and how it could be successful back in Maine."
A State of Maine reception was then held at Eimskip headquarters in Reykjavik, where CEO Gylfi Sigfusson and Governor LePage presented on future plans for infrastructure expansion and their commitment to growing both import and export trade between the groups.
"This State of Maine reception was a key event," said George Gervais, Commissioner of the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD). “The Governor's message to Icelandic companies was clear - we are here to serve you and will help you both source and distribute products. Maine is a committed partner in helping grow your business."
Governor LePage departed Iceland on Wednesday, June 11, but the trade mission continues Thursday in London with business matchmaking meetings, an Invest in Maine food processing event and State of Maine networking reception.
The Maine delegation, made up of 16 businesses and educational institutions, is scheduled to return to Maine on Saturday.