Governor LePage and Trade Center Leading Maine Delegation to Iceland and United Kingdom

June 9, 2014

For Immediate Release: Monday, June 09, 2014
Contact: Adrienne Bennett, Press Secretary, 207-287-2531
Doug Ray, DECD Communications Dir., 207-624-9802

AUGUSTA – Governor Paul R. LePage departed Maine Monday for a six-day trade mission to Iceland and United Kingdom, coordinated by the Maine International Trade Center (MITC). The mission, the third during the Governor’s administration, will take Maine’s delegation, including a contingent of Maine business leaders, to the cities of Reykjavik and London. Sixteen Maine businesses and educational institutions will be featured during the mission, which seeks to create linkages between Maine and the North Atlantic region.

“Maine is going to be well represented,” said Governor LePage. “I am very proud of the delegation we have put together. This is a tremendous mix of businesses and educational institutions, partnering with government and trade organizations, all sharing a common goal of developing new business relationships leading to new private investment and greater prosperity for Maine people.”

Trade Missions and international trade shows continue to be some of the most effective tools in getting small and midsized Maine companies connected to importers, partners and distributors, and attracting new export revenue leading to new jobs for Maine people.

“Since Eimskip moved its U.S. shipping hub to Maine, it has been a tremendous partner in growing Maine’s trade linkages. I have had the opportunity to meet with Iceland’s President Grimsson and Senior Icelandic officials as well as Maine business leaders,” said Governor LePage. “We have been working over the past year putting into place a multifaceted approach to increasing Maine’s outreach and influence in the North Atlantic markets.”

Part of that plan included the creation of the Maine North Atlantic Development Office (MENADO) late last year to focus on furthering trade opportunities with Eastern Canada, Northern Europe and the Arctic region. “Northern Europe represents approximately $350 million of Maine exports and has numerous opportunities for growth for Maine businesses,” said MENADO Director Dana Eidsness.

The Maine Delegation departed from Boston June 8th with matchmaking meetings and industry tours taking place in greater Reykjavik through June 11th. (Governor LePage is scheduled to depart June 9th and return to Maine from Iceland June 11th.) On the evening of June 10th the delegation will be welcoming Maine Maritime Academy’s training vessel – the “State of Maine” to Reykjavik and hosting a State of Maine reception providing networking for the participating companies and featuring Maine as a tourism, trade, and foreign investment destination.

"We are truly looking forward to meeting with grain importers and distributors in Iceland. Iceland augments its locally-sourced foods like lamb, dairy, fish, and greenhouse vegetables with imported food products, including grain,” said Amber Lambke-Owner, Maine Grains, Skowhegan. “With the Eimskip shipping company having recently created a direct link between Maine and Iceland, we have a unique opportunity to trade high-quality Maine-grown and processed goods, like grain, with our Icelandic neighbors,” she added.

The Trade Center and a Maine group of food processors, life science, and logistics companies will continue on to the United Kingdom June 11th for business matchmaking meetings while MITC’s Invest in Maine team will be featuring Business Attraction sessions in Cambridge for the Life Sciences industry and London for the Food Processing and tourism industries.

“We currently enjoy a small presence in the UK and believe with a better understanding of current consumer and retailer trends within the specialty food arena we can enhance and expand that presence,” Cynthia Fisher-VP, Bar Harbor Foods, Whiting said. “We hope the retail sector in the UK will respond with the same enthusiasm for our authentic Maine seafood products as we experience in Canada, Japan, Mexico and throughout the U.S,” she stated.

A small delegation with the Maine Port Authority and MENADO will be continuing on to Greenland post mission for preliminary discussions with Greenland executives and government leaders. The mission is organized in a coordinated effort by the Maine International Trade Center, MENADO, the Maine Technology Institute, and with support from the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development.