Business News in Brief: Trump’s decision to ditch atomic agreement with Iran could hit Danish businesses hard

In other stories, energy companies investigated and government clamps down on hackers

Danish business organisations are concerned the recent announcement by President Donald Trump revealing that the US is pulling out of the atomic agreement with Iran and reimposing sanctions will put a serious brake on exports, reports DR Nyheder.

Speaking about the possibilities for Danish firms to export to Iran in future, Jørn Fredsgaard, the head of the Danish export credit organisation’s country and bank section, said that “it was really hard before, but now it will be almost impossible.”

Fredsgaard estimates that it means saying goodbye to a potential 4 to 5 billion kroner per year.

“It’s obvious that when Trump pulls the plug on the agreement it means that a difficult market will become even more difficult,” agreed Peter Tagensen, the deputy head of the confederation of Danish industry, Dansk Industri.

The food and pharmaceutical sectors will be especially hard-hit. Also, prior to the US decision, Danish companies had plans to start exporting wind turbines, machinery and equipment for waterworks and fish farming. Now, these may be left on the back-burner.

Despite the somewhat gloomy predictions, EU countries have decided not to follow the US lead. The foreign minister, Anders Samuelsen, has confirmed that Denmark intends to abide by the atomic agreement.

Energy companies accused of misuse of subsidies
A number of Danish electricity and remote heating companies have allegedly been breaking the law by charging too much for energy-saving initiatives suggested by their own in-house consultants. Twelve companies are currently being investigated for a misuse of funds, reports DR Nyheder. A critical report last year by the Danish national auditor, Rigsrevisionen, revealed there could be problems with a 1.5 billion kroner per year scheme that subsidises new windows, LED light-bulbs and insulation. The companies are being investigated to see whether they have agreed contracts in which these items have been overpriced. The Energy Ministry has also received flak for not keeping a closer eye on the way the money has been spent.

Round-the-clock cyber centre to combat hackers
In the wake of the hacking attack that immobilised the ticketing system for the Danish national railway DSB last weekend, the government has announced the opening of a new cyber centre that will be manned 24/7. The centre is part of a wider government strategy to combat hacking in Denmark, which consists of 25 initiatives and 1.5 billion kroner in funding, reports DR Nyheder. Denmark is one of the most digitalised countries in the world, but even large companies have proved themselves vulnerable to hacking, as AP Møller-Maersk found out to its cost in June and July last year. It lost an estimated 1.9 billion kroner when hackers disabled vessel and port systems owned by the company.

Airlines give in to China over Taiwan
According to US news media, such as the Wall Street Journal, the Chinese authorities have recently sent a letter to a number of airlines demanding that they describe Taiwan and Hong Kong as being part of China. SAS seems to have followed suit and has started to use this terminology in connection with its overview of destinations, reports DR Nyheder. However, the airline’s press officer, Mariam Skovfoged, said: “We’ve not received any such letter from the Chinese authorities.” According to Skovfoged, the change in nomenclature has come about as a result of a systems update. Nevertheless, Finnair, British Airways and Lufthansa, who also fly to China, describe Taiwan as being part of China. Recently, the hotel chain Marriott and the Mercedes-Benz concern gave in to pressure and removed content connected to Tibet from their respective websites.