Arctic Business Summit 2018

Continuing the success of the three previous Arctic Business Council summits, the Norwegian Shipowners’ Association and the Arctic Economic Council invited top executives to Arctic Business Summit on October 18th in Reykjavik. “Despite political and economic uncertainties, let’s make the Arctic cool again”, said Mr Tero Vauraste, Chair of Arctic Economic Council.

The summit was opened with a global outlook on economy by Mrs. Ásdís Kristjánsdóttir, Director of Economic Division, Confederation of Icelandic Enterprise. “Trade is twice as important today than 60 years ago and trade is important to all economies, big or small, and it enhances efficiency, innovation and sparks growth”, said Kristjánsdóttir.

Mr. Tero Vauraste highlighted the reports from earlier Arctic Business summits in Bodø, Oslo and Tromsø. Due to the recent protectionist development in the international trade, lowering barriers like tariffs has become very essential to the Arctic, states Tero Vauraste. «The time has come to make the Arctic cool again”, Vauraste concluded his remarks. 

During the workshop the executives, which represented all sectors, would identify challenges and provide best practices on the topics protectionism, arctic investments and globally integrated value chains. The findings will be summarized in a report.

Bjarni Benediktsson, Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs, joined the summit and highlighted the need for further corporation between arctic nations and initiatives.  “Iceland is keen to increase collaboration between Arctic Council and Arctic Economic Council. Both work to promote sustainable development of the Arctic”, Benediktsson said in his speech.

The Governor of the State of Maine, USA, Hon. Paul LePage stressed that the Arctic partnerships are generating new business and creating jobs. “It is important for Maine to further the dynamic relationship between our state and this increasingly important part of the world” LePage said at the summit.

Mr. Heidar Gudjonsson, Arctic Economic Council Vice Chair, said in his concluding remarks that the Arctic was more vulnerable to protectionism and decrease in world trade. Therefore, it is paramount to keep borders open and trade flowing.

Mr. Arne O. Holm, Editor-in-Chief, High North News moderated the summit.