Denmark hits up Canada ahead of Arctic conference

Foreign minister looking to focus on free trade and avoid contention in Fairbanks

The foreign minister, Anders Samuelsen, is in Canada this week as part of his preparations for the upcoming Arctic Council summit in Fairbanks, Alaska this week.

Samuelsen will be discussing free trade and co-operation with Canada today and tomorrow, before heading to Fairbanks where the ministerial meeting of the Arctic Council will discuss issues pertaining to science, climate, sustainable development, and avoiding strife in the Arctic region.

“Free trade is under threat and Denmark – as well as all other nations – will become poorer if protectionism wins the day,” said Samuelsen.

“So it’s essential that Canada and Denmark work together to fight harder for free trade. That’s from a global perspective, but we must also influence the US to pursue a free trade policy.”

Samuelsen also stated he was pleased that the EU-Canada free trade agreement will kick in soon, particularly as it could potentially increase Danish exports to Canada by up to 2 billion kroner annually.

Samuelsen will meet with the Canadian foreign minister, Chrystia Freeland, and trade minister, François-Philippe Champagne, in Ottawa. Moreover, he will meet with a number of Canadian companies and Danish companies active in the country.

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Research agreement
On Wednesday, he will then travel to Fairbanks, where the US secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, is hosting the Arctic Council meeting.

During the meeting, the Arctic nations are expecting to sign a binding research agreement regarding the free movement of researchers in the region.

“We must reach a binding agreement concerning free movement for researchers and their equipment in the Arctic,” said Samuelsen.

“It’s primarily been an issue with US and Russian researchers, and it is a good result that Denmark supports. There is a great need for research in the Arctic, and the Danish Commonwealth prioritises research in our Arctic strategy.