(PORTLAND, Maine; 16 March 2015) The U.S. ambassador to Iceland and Iceland’s ambassador to the United States are visiting Maine on Tuesday, 17 March, in an effort to build upon and create new economic opportunities between the two countries.
U.S. Ambassador Robert Barber and Iceland Ambassador Geir Haarde will first attend a private reception in Portland for the unveiling of the conceptual design for a marine-based business incubator being launched on the city’s waterfront, according to an announcement last week from the Maine International Trade Center.
The incubator, called the New England Ocean Cluster House, is being developed by the owner of the Iceland Ocean Cluster and Soli DG Inc., which manages the International Marine Terminal.”This trip is just one way in which the U.S. Embassy in Iceland works to increase both economic and cultural ties between the U.S. and Iceland,” Barber said in a statement to Mainebiz on Monday. “I hope that our meetings will produce new partnerships and economic opportunities between U.S. and Icelandic companies that are beneficial to both the economy of Iceland, but most importantly the economy of Maine. As ambassador, collaboration is my function, and that’s what I’m here to do.”
The Portland reception is being organized by the New England Ocean Cluster and the Maine North Atlantic Development Office, which was formed in 2013 by the Maine International Trade Center and the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development as a way to increase trade and investment between Maine and North Atlantic regional markets.”[We have] been working diligently to increase trade and investment opportunities between Maine and the Nordic region and to help develop Maine’s policies surrounding Arctic affairs,” Chris Howard, chairman of the North Atlantic Development Office’s board and a Pierce Atwood attorney, said in a prepared statement.
“The New England Ocean Cluster House is one example of the types of opportunities [the development office] would like to bring to the state.The ocean cluster model has generated positive results, including economic growth in other countries, and the New England Ocean Cluster will follow suit, empowering people from our region to grow their ideas into profitable businesses that create new jobs and stimulate our economy,” Howard added.
“It’s great that we have the support of the U.S. and Icelandic Ambassadors in building momentum around and celebrating this positive initiative.”The ambassadors also are scheduled to tour Icelandic shipping company Eimskip’s facility in Portland, Brunswick Landing and will head to Augusta for a meeting with Gov. Paul LePage. During their trip to Eimskip, they are expected to discuss a potential partnership between the Maine National Guard and Iceland’s Coast Guard.