Category Archives: Greetings from the Ambassador

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Farewell from the Ambassador

It has been my great pleasure to spend five years as Ambassador from Denmark to the United States. I have enjoyed working with the board and members of the American-Danish Business Council and building the organization to a vibrant and growing community of Danish and American companies. We have put the platform in place to take the Council through its next decade creating value for its members. I want to thank the co-chair and the board for their enthusiasm and engagement.

The last week has been very exciting and created many wonderful memories. Not least was President Bill Clinton visiting the Embassy for the unveiling of his portrait created for permanent display at the Embassy by the Danish artist Gugger Petter. Guests included former Ambassadors, seven Ambassadors from the Washington Diplomatic Corps, Congressman Steny Hoyer, the artist Gugger Petter, and many members of ADBC. As I told the guests, President Clinton is the most popular politician in Denmark. He has shown great friendship to our country and was the first sitting President to visit Denmark.

President Clinton spoke of his admiration of Danish values and the great help Denmark gave when NATO entered Kosovo. He commended Denmark for providing peacekeeping forces and remarked that when people see his portrait, he hopes they will remember the warm relationship between our countries and the great working relationship Denmark and the U.S. have established.

I believe this event was a wonderful way to cap my time in Washington and represents all the great experiences that have made my tour here so delightful.

Sincerely,

Peter Taksoe-Jensen

Ambassador from Denmark to the United States

Greetings from the Ambassador

This weekend, as part of our outreach to the Washingtonians, we opened the doors to our Embassy and welcomed a record number of visitors to our EU Open House. Almost 6,000 people walked up Whitehaven Street and visited the Embassy of Denmark. Many had their picture taken with the Viking while others, when asked to name their favorite Danish company, were surprised to find that Lego and Pandora are indeed Danish. It was a pleasure to see everyone having a good time and learning something about Denmark. I am especially pleased that Norden, Novo Nordisk, Systematics, Arla, LEGO, Flødeboller Inc. as well as Kelsen were represented. These companies made a good impression for Denmark and I am grateful for their participation.

I am excited to see that the U.S. continues to be a very important export market for Denmark. For American Danish Business Council, the latest export statistics are very positive news!

Danish exports of goods to the U.S. increased by an impressive 20.9% to approx. 13.9 billion Danish Kroner (approx. 2 billion USD) in the first quarter of 2015. The huge growth in the export of goods to the U.S. is primarily driven by the strong U.S. dollar and the increased export of pharmaceuticals. In the first quarter of 2015, Danish export of pharmaceutical products to the U.S. accounted for approximately 6.9 billion Danish Kroner (approx. 1 billion USD), making it responsible for about 50% of the total Danish export of goods to the U.S. in that period.

Export of pharmaceuticals to the U.S. is mainly driven by larger Danish pharmaceutical companies including ADBC members Novo Nordisk, Leo Pharma and Lundbeck; however, some recent developments in the U.S. healthcare sector could also show great potential for Danish SMEs in the healthcare sector and Danish export of pharmaceuticals in general.

Greetings from the Ambassador

It was with great sadness that we witnessed the terror rampage that targeted a free speech forum and the Jewish community in Copenhagen last month. Our thoughts are with the victims and their families.

I am sure Denmark will heal from this tragedy and continue to demonstrate determination and leadership in both combatting the scourge of terrorism and defending democratic values.

In American Danish Business Council we continue to focus on strengthening the commercial ties between Denmark and the US. It is very good news, that the Danish export of goods to the US grew by 7,5% in 2014, totaling 6.66 billion USD (44.38 billion DKK).

I would like to share with you that my staff and I continuously follow the negotiations of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) closely. The eighth round of the TTIP negotiations has just concluded.  The tone was positive and constructive with two more rounds scheduled for April and July.  The passing of TPA (“fast track”) legislation in Congress before the summer should aid passage of TTIP once the negotiations are concluded.

TTIP will mean far fewer barriers, lower tariffs, rapprochement of many regulations and increased trade and investment opportunities for Europeans and Americans. TTIP is greatly important for members of ADBC and for achieving our mission statement of improving trade and investment between Denmark and the United States.

March 23rd Select USA’s second Investment Summit will take place in Washington DC for foreign companies investing in the United States. This year Ambassador Gifford will join with a delegation of Danish companies and I look forward to hosting an event for the delegation and members of American Danish Business Council.

Greeting from the Ambassador

Dear Members of American Danish Business Council.

We have just hosted my fifth Creative Christmas at the Embassy. This year we honored wounded warriors from Denmark and the United States. Not only do we owe those who stand in harm’s way a debt for their service, but the coming together of these Veterans signifies the deep ties and cooperation between our countries. We stand together in many ways.

In that context, I want to thank the members of the American-Danish Business Council for the support and cooperation we have experienced in 2014. It is deeply satisfying for me to see the Council grow and prosper and fulfill our mission of supporting trade and investment between our two countries. I see ADBC as a unique opportunity to work together (US and Danish companies) toward common goals. We are truly stronger together.

On behalf of all of us at the Embassy and the American- Danish Business Council, I want to wish you all happy holidays and a very prosperous New Year.

Greeting from the Ambassador

Focus on Nordic and Arctic Issues

We have seen a growing emphasis on the Arctic and Nordic area in the last quarter of 2014. On September 24th the Brookings Institution held a discussion on “Natural Resource Development in Greenland with Greenland’s Premier Aleqa Hammond. The Premier’s talk was followed by a panel discussion focused on a new Brookings report, “The Greenland Gold Rush: Promise and Pitfalls of Greenland’s Energy and Mineral Resources.” The authors Kevin Foley and Tim Boersma were joined by University of Copenhagen Professor Minik Rosing in emphasizing the challenges that Greenland may have reaching its goals for economic development, but also the potential.

The Premier was in Washington to open the Greenland diplomatic representation office at the Embassy of Denmark headed by Inuuteq Hold Olsen.

As the United States is poised to take over the presidency of the Arctic Council, I was pleased to take part in a panel discussion at the Center for American Policy on “Helping the Arctic Council find Its True North”. I was joined by Admiral Robert J. Papp Jr., U.S. Special Representative for the Arctic and several others. We discussed some of the issues the US will emphasize during its two year tenure as president.

The United States will take over the role from Canada in April 2015 and will concentrate on the following agenda: ocean governance, climate change, and economic and living conditions of people living in the Arctic regions. The Hill reported that, in fact, climate change – both mitigation and adaptation – will be the main focus for Secretary Kerry and President Obama.
We will hear more about these Arctic issues as 2015 begins. The Danish Presidency of the Nordic Council will also open in 2015. Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt declared on October 28th at a meeting of the Nordic Council that Denmark has formulated a program in cooperation with Greenland and the Faroe Islands. The program will concentrate on growth, welfare, value and the Arctic. The Prime Minister said that “growth is crucial … to develop the Region’s position as a leader especially in green solutions, energy and climate.” She also emphasized the Nordic brand and used the example of the New Nordic Food culture as an example of Nordic values and branding. In terms of welfare, she looks for knowledge sharing to improve health.

On Arctic issues, the Nordic Council under the Danish Presidency will also focus on climate issues and will be an excellent partner for the work of the Arctic Council under the leadership of the United States.

Greetings from the Ambassador

September has been and still is a very busy month with visits from a number of Danish Ministers and parliament delegations. These visits demonstrate the close relationship between Denmark and USA. Over the last few months, we have also hosted visits by both the Trade and Development Minister and the Minister for Business and Growth. These Ministerial visits and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership negotiations (that has been a focus for ADBC this year) emphasize the importance of trade to the Danish economy.

The Danish Government’s goal is to increase exports to the United States by 25 percent by 2016. While ambitious, this goal seems to be reachable. The United States economy is twice the size of China’s economy [OECD stat, US $, current prices, 2012] and, according to Trade Council statistics, the US is the largest export market for Danish goods outside the EU. In fact, overall the US is the 3rd largest export market for goods and services.

The US economy is continuing its recovery and is expected to continue solidly expanding through next year. According to Blue Chip consensus, GDP is expected to grow by 2.1 percent this year and 3.0 percent next year. At the same time, the unemployment rate is continuing to come down. It is expected to fall from 6.2 percent in the second quarter of 2014 to 6.0 percent in the fourth quarter and 5.5 percent by the end of next year. Concomitantly, corporate profits are expected to grow from .3 percent this year to 6.4 percent next year. Housing starts are expected to rise to 1,010,000 units in 2014 from the 2013 level of 930,000. Next year housing starts are expected to rise even higher to 1,200,000.

Inflation is staying firm and is expected to continue to be contained. Short-term interest rates should remain low but may begin to rise next year. Treasury yields are also expected to rise next year, consistent with the anticipated tightening of monetary policy. [Blue Chip Econometric Detail, Vol.30 No.3]

The healthcare market continues to be important with pharmaceuticals and medical devices making up about 19 percent of total expenditures [Euromonitor International]. In fact, the US has the highest expenditures for healthcare as a percentage of GDP of any other OECD country – with approximately twice the OECD average. [OECD Health Statistics 2014]

Moreover, the visit of the Minister for Children, Gender Equality, Integration and Social Affairs has focused on elder care and sharing experiences on the Danish model. There could be a significant market for elder care solutions in the US with its growing population of seniors.

The renewable energy sector is also growing. According to Fortune magazine [September 3, 2014], 12,500 new clean energy jobs were created so far this year in the US. Solar installations are up 41% from last year — with Arizona, California, New York, and Massachusetts leading the way. The wind industry has created 2700 new jobs (Vestas is responsible for a good many of these jobs), and GM and Tesla are expected to create 1900 new jobs building electric vehicles. To date, the renewable energy sector has created jobs in 29 states. While still to be determined, the new Environmental Protection Agency rules regarding limiting carbon could push the renewable energy sector even more.

At the same time, according to the European Commission Spring forecast, “real GDP growth is forecast to advance with moderation in 2014, at 1.6% and 1.2% respectively in the EU and the euro area, before gaining some further speed to respectively 2.0% and 1.7% in 2015.

“In contrast to the sharp but short-lived upturn in 2010, the current recovery in the EU and euro area is more balanced regionally” and more sustained. Unemployment is decreasing and is lowest in Germany and Austria at 4.9 percent and across the EU down by .4% from the same time in 2013 to 11.5% [European Commission, Eurostat]. According to the Softwood Export Council, “Housing starts in the European Union were 1,295,000 in 2013 and are forecast to rise 3.9% in 2014 to 1,345,000 and by 4.2% to 1,402,000 in 2015.”

Therefore, we can conclude that the US economy is well into the recovery after the financial crises, and data points to improved conditions in Europe. With the US as Denmark’s largest market outside the EU and with an increase in economic growth, the emphasis on exports to the US seems reasonable. With Denmark strong in both pharmaceuticals, medical devices and clean tech, we should be able to increase exports by the Government’s stated goal. We are doing our best to assist in this positive direction. However, companies are the main driver and the members of ADBC and its mission of improved trade and investment between Denmark and the US are important components in this strategy.

Greetings from the Ambassador

Ambassador Peter Taksoe Jensen


H.E. Peter Taksøe-Jensen is Denmark’s ambassador to the United States, a position he entered on September 1st, 2010.

It was my great pleasure to host the Danish Foreign Minister Martin Lidegaard during his visit to Washington D.C. to meet with Secretary of State John Kerry on Wednesday May 7th.  In addition to the meeting at the State Department, Minister Lidegaard spoke at the Brookings Institution on “Ukraine and the New European (Clean) Energy Debate” in Europe – to which all ADBC members were invited.  In fact, energy, climate and water are foreign policy issues and of great importance not only to governments but to business as well.

Minister Lidegaard had a very productive first meeting with Secretary Kerry who expressed his appreciation regarding Denmark’s active role in the key issues concerning both countries:  that is, the crisis in Ukraine, the climate agenda, the issue of chemical weapons in Syria, and the Artic.  In remarks before the meeting Secretary Kerry said:

“Denmark is a country that is hitting way above its weight in many, many ways.  And we’re very, very pleased and grateful for the strong relationship that we    have – a NATO partner and ally, but most importantly, Denmark has been leading on the issue of Ukraine, of the importance of standing up for the elections, of providing the people of Ukraine with an opportunity to choose their future.  They are tremendous leaders on climate change, environment, environmental standards . . . .”

In addition to the Brookings forum and, most importantly, the meeting with Secretary Kerry, Minister Lidegaard met with Senator John McCain, Congressman Steny Hoyer and Deputy National Security Advisor Antony Blinken.  These discussions were also productive with appreciation expressed for Denmark’s engagement on major global issues.

The success of the Foreign Minister’s visit is also mirrored in the progress we are making in ADBC.    Much has taken place since the last newsletter — including the Foreign Minister’s visit mentioned above and a visit by the Minister for Trade and Development Cooperation.  I am pleased to call your attention to the articles in this newsletter covering the event with the Danish Minister for Trade and Development Cooperation in April and the very productive board meeting we had in March. The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership has been a large part of ADBC activities over the first months of 2014 and will continue to be a focus for the future.

The Embassy is again looking forward to this year’s EU Open House. ADBC members – Novozymes, The TAK agency, and Systematic – will take an active role showcasing the very best Denmark and Danish companies have to offer. Later in the afternoon we will host the Eurovision Song Contest Grand Finale 2014 garden party.

The event for the Congressional Friends of Denmark Caucus is an important upcoming event and has been scheduled for June 12th. I hope you will all join us for a great networking opportunity and usher ADBC into the second half of 2014.

With best regards,

// Peter Taksoe-Jensen

To hear Minister Lidegaard’s speech go to http://www.brookings.edu/events/2014/05/06-ukraine-european-clean-energy

Greeting from the Ambassador

Few economies in the world affect Danish prosperity and employment as much as that of the US. The US is the world’s largest economy, largest investor, and the world’s most innovative country. When things go well in the US it directly affects Danish export to the United States, American investments in Denmark and knowledge based collaboration across the Atlantic.

Relations are strong and at this moment we see a number of developing market tendencies in American society matching Danish competencies. Therefore, in order to ensure that Denmark and Danish companies benefit from the opportunities in the US, we have elaborated a new action plan with 23 specific growth initiatives in export, investment and innovation between Denmark and the US. The aim of the Trade Council’s new “Growth through Export” strategy is to increase Danish exports by 25% between 2013-2016, which would create jobs and spur growth in Denmark benefitting many ADBC members.

Among the current market tendencies with potential for Danish companies are: US health sector is changing dramatically with the potential of 35 million new patients covered under the Affordable Care Act; increasing water consumption and wastewater challenges create a large demand for efficient water technologies; food safety has become a main focus for consumers as well as authorities; Danish shipping companies currently transport 15% of all goods entering or leaving the United States by ship and growth in the transportation of energy is expected.

Therefore, the strategy is focused on areas of strong Danish competences, such as Green Growth, Healthcare, Food and Shipping. The initiatives include: establishing the Water Technology Alliance to provide solutions on waste water handling; establishing a food cluster of Danish companies to better access the US market through a sales alliance and establishing a new team within the Trade Council US to assist Danish supply to the Oil & Gas industry. Also as part of the action plan, Danish companies will be kept informed regarding the progress of The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership.

ADBC will arrange a number of interesting events in 2014 – with more activities for each area within our established working groups. As always, we welcome any input you may have regarding issues and events that would be of interest to you and your business.

I look forward to continuing the close cooperation within the American Danish Business Council throughout the coming year.

Best regards,
Ambassador Peter Taksøe-Jensen

Read the growth plan here (Danish Only).Vækstplan

December Greeting

My warm greetings to all the members and friends of the American-Danish Business Council

The holidays are approaching and so is the end of another productive year in the ADBC. I look back at our ADBC achievements and events this year with satisfaction and look forward to the year ahead anticipating even more progress towards our goal of making the ADBC the preferred network regarding trade and investment between the US and Denmark.

This newsletter marks the launch of a new format, which allows easier and more accessible reading. It also means that news from the ADBC will be uploaded on our website frequently. I encourage you to stay updated.

We have just held another successful celebration of Creative Christmas at the Embassy. This year the focus was on Denmark’s expertise in water and, on this occasion, the Ambassador’s residence was decorated by graduate students from the Corcoran College of Art + Design to showcase Denmark’s competencies within water.

We are already planning several events for our members in 2014. Our focus will for next year be life Science, Health IT, Defense, Energy & Environment, and Maritime, and it is our intention to have more activities for each working group. The negotiations of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership between the U.S and EU will continue to be a focus area. We are monitoring the process closely and look forward to keeping our ADBC members informed in order to help you be better prepared to take advantage of the opportunities the agreement may bring.

Visits by Danish politicians have already been planned for 2014, with the first visit by the Minister of Trade and European Affairs in February. Focus of the visit will be commercial ties between Denmark and the US. We look forward to including members in meetings and other related events with these leaders.

As always, we welcome any input you may have regarding issues and events that would be of interest to you and your business.

On behalf of all of us at the Embassy and the American- Danish Business Council, I want to wish you all happy holidays and a very prosperous New Year.

Sincerely,
Ambassador Peter Taksøe-Jensen