Governor LePage Leads Delegation at Arctic Circle Assembly

October 18, 2018

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, October 18, 2018
Media Contacts: Julie Rabinowitz, Press Secretary, Governor Paul R. LePage, 207-287-2531; Wade Merritt, President, Maine International Trade Center, 207-852-6840, merritt@mitc.com

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

On Saturday, Governor LePage will meet with Iceland's Minister of Foreign Affairs Gudlaugur Thor Thordarson to re-sign the Maine-Iceland Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) 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 MOU between the State of 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," stated Governor LePage. "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."

"For the fifth straight year, Maine is participating in globally important discussions at the Arctic Circle Assembly," said Acting Commissioner of the Department of Economic and Community Development Denise Garland. "We created the Maine North Atlantic Development Office (MENADO) at Maine International Trade Center (MITC) in 2014 to develop Maine's relationships in the region. 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."

With a schedule arranged by MITC, Governor 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 Wade Merritt, president of MITC. "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 will also host an informal meeting with Scotland Highlands & Islands Enterprise staff to discuss economic development, business collaboration and a potential trade/outreach event in Scotland in 2019.

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About the Maine North Atlantic Development Office (MENADO)
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. www.mitc.com

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. www.arcticcircle.org