Category Archives: News from the Embassy

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The SelectUSA Investment Summit, March 23rd – 24th, 2015

The 2015 SelectUSA Investment Summit was held on March 23rd and 24th at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center at National Harbor, Maryland – just across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C.

Investors and high-level CEOs who have all successfully invested in the United States participated in the summit along with representatives of U.S. economic development organizations and representatives from U.S. state and local governments. The U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker and other senior officials hosted the proceedings. President Barack Obama also visited the summit and gave remarks on how to further attract foreign investors and expand the SelectUSA initiative. Around 2,600 people from nearly 80 countries attended the two-day summit. The summit included speeches, panels and discussions on some of the themes that President Obama has highlighted: among these themes were cybersecurity, trade, immigration, tax policy and infrastructure.

President Obama began his speech by emphasizing that, after the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, America is once again in a state of extensive economic growth. He explained that over the last 60 months more that 12 million jobs have been created. Actually, U.S. businesses have added more than 200,000 jobs each month for the last 12 months – this is the first time that has happened in 37 years. Furthermore, the employment rate has dropped by nearly 50% since 2009 and after a decade of outsourcing, jobs are now starting to come back to America.

The president continued his speech by addressing the importance of attracting more foreign investment to the U.S. as a way of creating more jobs. He referred to the SelectUSA initiative as a story of success and explained how SelectUSA, by the beginning of this year, had assisted more than 1,000 clients, helping to generate more than $20 billion of investment in the U.S.

Mr. Obama noted: “I created SelectUSA, the first-ever government-wide initiative to encourage more companies from around the world to invest and create jobs right here in the United States. We’ve got a good story to tell, but we want to make sure all of you had a chance to hear it.” 

And he continued: “So what’s great about SelectUSA is that everybody wins.  Communities that welcome foreign investors see more jobs and economic activity and they can reach more potential investors.  The companies that invest in America have access to the largest market in the world – and it’s a market that is strong and stable, and growing.

 

Lars Rebien Sørensen
Lars Rebien Sørensen, the CEO at Novo Nordisk,
participated in a panel discussion about “The Innovation Advantage”

 

The President also introduced some future actions that the Administration will take on in order to enhance SelectUSA and increase U.S. attractiveness to investors. He spoke of launching a new partnership between state and federal economic development officials, as well as launching the SelectUSA Academy, which focuses on training programs for investors: “We’re improving our online investment tools, helping companies identify state-based incentives so that they can decide where to invest.” As an example, a database of state-level incentives is now available on the SelectUSA website. Moreover, as a joint project of the Harvard Business School and the Economic Development Administration, The Department of Commerce has created a website called: clustermapping.us. The Cluster Mapping website provides investors with data and tools that will make it easier for them to identify regional concentrations of specific industries and thereby locate potential economic partners in the United States.

Secretary of State John Kerry also spoke at the summit. One thing that both Secretary Kerry and President Obama specifically made clear was that the U.S. is a great (if not the greatest) investment opportunity for foreign companies. Mr. Kerry said: “Now, some might debate it – I don’t – I think the United States of America, particularly at this moment of time is without doubt one of the best places in the world to invest, if not the best place.”. He followed by acknowledging the significant spill overs that can come of cross-country investments: “We know that two businesses in two different countries on two different continents have the ability to be able to forge strong bonds – bonds that ultimately serve to enhance the relationship between both businesses’ home countries, and bonds that actually no two governments could quite create in the same way.

Mr. Kerry used the last part of his speech to state the importance of the free trade agreements and the bilateral investment treaties that are currently being negotiated in The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). He described them as important steps towards a more integrated investment regime that would help drive global growth and prosperity.

As the final pitch to why foreign companies should choose to invest in the U.S., Secretary Kerry noted: “Whatever the reason, whatever makes the most business sense to you, you can be confident in the fact that when you select the USA, you are choosing a workforce with some of the world’s most reliable and most productive workers. You are embracing an investment climate that encourages innovation and entrepreneurship. Most importantly, you are selecting a partner that is committed to helping you to succeed and knows that we all do better when everyone grows together.

Read the whole speech by President Barack Obama here.

Read the whole speech by Secretary of State John Kerry here.


SelectUSA was established by President Barack Obama in 2011 as a way of showcasing the United States as the world’s premier business location, create jobs, spur economic growth, and advance U.S. competitiveness.

SelectUSA is housed within the International Trade Administration (ITA) of the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC).

To learn more about SelectUSA, visit: www.SelectUSA.gov

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Andreas Nordseth nominated as Secretary-General of the International Maritime Organization (IMO)

Denmark is nominating Director-General of the Danish Maritime Authority for the post of Secretary-General of the United Nations’ International Maritime Organization (IMO). The election was officially announced in December 2014 and is expected to be held by the IMO Council on June 30, 2015. The position will become vacant on January 1, 2016 as the present Secretary-General Koji Sekimizu resigns at the end of 2015.

Andreas Nordseth is a highly experienced leader. As Director-General of the Danish Maritime Authority, he functions as Denmark’s chief maritime executive, responsible for the strategic development and daily running of the maritime authority. Moreover, he is also the principal maritime advisor to the Danish Government. In his current position, Mr. Nordseth is heavily involved with Denmark’s work in the IMO. He is the Head of the Danish delegation in the IMO Council and Assembly and is in charge of the Danish Maritime Authority’s efforts on all levels at IMO. In addition, Mr. Nordseth has been Chairman of the international Consultative Shipping Group (CSG) since 2009, Governor at the World Maritime University and a board member of the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA). He also holds various posts in committees and on boards within the maritime domain.

Minister for Business and Growth Henrik Sass Larsen states his strong believe in Mr. Nordseth:

Mr. Andreas Nordseth is a strong candidate for the job. He has many years of experience in the maritime field and, as Director General of the Danish Maritime Authority, he sets the course for quality shipping both domestically and internationally.

The decisions taken by the IMO are of decisive importance to Danish and international shipping. The IMO must continue to promote quality shipping globally, while being capable of meeting the new challenges faced by the Organization. I have no doubt that Mr. Andreas Nordseth will be able to head the Organization in this work.

As Director General of a major maritime administration, which is responsible for a wide area of maritime issues, he has solid experience with international maritime affairs and the challenges met by the maritime industry, such as safety at sea and the promotion of business and growth.

Andreas Nordseth is 54 years old and has worked with the Danish Maritime Authority under the Ministry of Business and Growth since 1991. He was appointed Director General in 2009.

Mr. Nortseths vision

If Mr. Nortseth is elected to be the next Secretary-General, his vision is for the IMO to maintain and develop its fundamental role and brand as the world’s focal point for regulation of shipping. He is committed to ensuring a global, level playing field for shipping, promoting sustainable quality shipping by effective, enforceable regulation, reducing administrative burdens and promoting competent seafarers. For the IMO to support this, the Secretariat must continue to serve its constituents with great competence, effectiveness and efficiency – getting the best results from the given resources.

Other candidates for the post

Besides Denmark, there are five other countries which have candidates for the position: Cyprus, Russia, South Korea, Kenya and the Philippines are also nominating people for the position as Secretary-General of the IMO. The candidates are:

  1. Philippines: Director of the Maritime Industry Authority of the Philippines, Maximo Q. Mejia Jr.
  2. Cyprus: Director of the Cyprus Department of Merchant Shipping and former President of the IMO Marine Environment Protection Committee, Andreas Chrysostoumou.
  3. Russia: Vitaly Klyuev, Deputy Director, Department of State Policy for Maritime and River Transport, Ministry of Transport.
  4. South Korea: Ki-tack Lim, CEO & President, Busan Port Authority.
  5. Kenya: Juvenal J. Shiundu, Deputy Director/ Head of Programme Management, IMO.

During the election round, the vote will continue until one candidate has an absolute majority. The candidate with the fewest votes in each round will be eliminated, and a new voting round will take place. Consequently, this means one needs to gain support even from countries that have a candidate.

As part of the campaign to become the next Secretary-General, Mr. Nordseth met with Robert J. Faucher, Director of the Office of Specialized and Technical Agencies, Bureau of International Organization Affairs in U.S. State Department on March 24, 2015. Mr. Nordseth also met with Rear Admiral Paul Thomas of the U.S. Coast Guard on March 25. The U.S. authorities were positive regarding Mr. Nordseth’s candidacy and consider him a serious and well qualified candidate.

To read more about Mr. Nordseth please visit his website.

EU Open House 2015 – a great opportunity for ADBC Members

As an exclusive opportunity for ADBC members, the Embassy of Denmark invites you to showcase your company during our open house event on May 9, 2015.

Each year, the Embassy of Denmark welcomes visitors (approximately 4-5,000 people) to learn more about Denmark. This is an excellent opportunity to introduce the public to the very best that Denmark and Danish companies have to offer.

ADBC will participate with its own booth to promote our work and establish contacts in the community. We believe that showcasing the best Danish companies is an important part of branding Denmark and Danish businesses in the American market.

If you would like to showcase a product, be represented with flyers, roll-ups or merchandise, or in any other way showcase the expertise and innovation of your company, please contact Lasse Eilenberg on laseil@um.dk as soon as possible as space is limited.  There is no charge for participation for members of ADBC.


About European Union Embassies’ Open House

The event at the Embassy of Denmark is part of a larger annual European event. The Delegation of the European Union to the United States and the Embassies of the 28 EU Member States to the United States will open their doors to the public during the annual EU Open House Day.

Each embassy will open to the public from 10 am to 4 pm on Saturday, May 9, 2015, offering a rare look inside the buildings and will be providing a unique opportunity to experience the country’s cultural heritage and national traditions.

 

Minister of Foreign Affairs, Martin Lidegaard, attends White House Summit on Countering Violent Extremism

February 18 to 19 2015, the Danish Minister of Foreign Affairs, Martin Lidegaard, attended the White House Summit in Washington D.C to Counter Violent Extremism. Afterwards, Martin Lidegaard met with the U.S Secretary of State, John Kerry, who was hosting the event.

The aim of the summit was to review global progress since President Obama’s call to action at the 2014 UN General Assembly (UNGA) in New York. Obama called for all countries to do more to address violent extremism within their borders and regions.

Prior to the summit, Martin Lidegaard made the following statement after the attacks in Copenhagen:

“This weekend has once again shown the necessity of working together internationally and the importance of learning from one another in the fight against radicalization. Not only must we improve our ability to prevent young people from committing violent extremism. This must be combated with openness, unity and democracy, which in the long run is the most powerful and effective response.   For this reason, I am glad that the summit in Washington D.C. will focus on how to prevent radicalization and terror through preventive actions. This is an area in which Denmark has a lot of experience on both national and local level. There is room for improvement, however this requires more collaboration.”

At the summit, the Foreign Minister spoke during the morning session on “Understanding violent Extremism today”, where he especially emphasized the need to react to extremism, but not overreact.

After the summit, Martin Lidegaard met with his counterpart, the U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry. They discussed avenues for continued and strengthened cooperation on countering violent extremism. They agreed on the need for a holistic approach as outlined by the Secretary and President Obama at the CVE Summit in Washington last week. They also discussed crucial transatlantic cooperation regarding other areas of shared interest such as the situation in Ukraine.

New Opportunities in Cuba

Dr. Wayne S. Smith spoke to the staff of the Embassy of Denmark at a brown bag lunch in January. Dr. Smith is a senior fellow of the Cuba Project at the Center for International Policy. Until last year, he was a visiting professor of Latin American Studies and director of the University of Havana exchange program at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD. He is a former senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. During his twenty-five years with the State Department (1957-82), Smith served as executive secretary of President Kennedy’s Latin American Task Force and chief of mission at the U.S. Interests Section in Havana. In addition, he served in Argentina, Brazil and the Soviet Union.

In an interview on the 25th of February, Dr. Smith remarked on the progress that has been made so far. The delegations met in week 9. However, the remarks made by Fidel Castro that he mistrusts the United States has seemingly slowed down the speed of progress and there now seems less enthusiasm on the part of the Cubans.

Despite this apparent set back, the United States could go forward with taking Cuba off the terrorist list. The Department of State has indicated that it is doing so. However, Dr. Smith opined that it could be done with the stroke of a pen. There is no reason to delay. Just this act would have great meaning and would not need Congressional approval. It might even convince Fidel Castro to re-evaluate his mistrustful reaction.

In other words, according to Dr. Smith, the US should do those things that are easy first and go on to the harder issues (Guantanamo, lifting the embargo, etc.). It has been decades since Cuba was sending troops to Angola or aiding communist movements in Latin America. There is no logical reason to continue to keep Cuba on the terrorist list.

Furthermore, easing travel restrictions could be speeded up. This could well be in the interest of the US as well. As we have seen when the wall came down in 1989, the more engagement the West has with countries and their people, the closer we become and the easier it is for governments to find common ground.

Foreign business has suffered unnecessarily under the Helms-Burton Act for many years. If the US cannot lift the embargo and repeal the Helms-Burton Act because of Congressional reticence, the Administration could, at least, no longer enforce Helms-Burton (or more loosely interpret it). Doing so would remove a lingering thorn in the side of the European Community and the United States’ neighbors in North, South and Central America.

Dr. Smith ended by saying, “I once said that ‘Cuba has the same effect on the American government that the full moon has on werewolves’. I applaud President Obama for halting the knee jerk reaction to Cuba that has dictated policy for fifty years. It is long overdue and time for the US government to go beyond its emotional reaction to Cuba and take action that will mean more engagement between our peoples and businesses.”

Interview by Mary Paul Smith Jespersen

Danish architects focus on climate change and sustainability

Hot to Cold: An Odyssey of Architectural Adaptation

“Hot to Cold: An Odyssey of Architectural Adaptation” is Bjarke Ingels Group’s (BIG) first North-American exhibition and is on view at the National Building Museum in Washington D. C. from January 24th, 2015 to August 30th, 2015.

The exhibition takes the visitor on a journey around the world (going from the hottest to the coldest areas), exploring more than 60 of BIG’s architectural projects, arranged by climate gradation. The models are showcased along the second-floor arcade and proceed around the museum’s grand hall. The designs find inspiration in the climatic extremes, where architecture becomes about shading from the heat or sheltering from the cold. Founder of BIG, Bjarke Ingels explain: “In the extreme climates, the architecture is totally informed by the climate, in the more mild climates, other factors take over.“.

BIG is an ambitious global architecture company striving to be climatically responsive and focused on sustainability. Ingels describes his company’s design philosophy as: “World craft, the belief that we design our own human ecosystems, and should never be limited by technology or the status quo.”

Danish architects focus on sustainability and green thinking

The concern about climate change has focused the world upon the importance of sustainability and green thinking. Danish architects are well advanced when combining sustainable thinking with modern design. C.F. Møller Architects (one of Scandinavia’s oldest and largest architectural companies), together with SLA and Rambøll, have recently won the competition for the new extension to the University of Copenhagen’s Panum complex. The new extension will have Denmark’s most energy-efficient laboratories, in which waste energy from the ventilation system will be recycled as part of the overall energy balance of the building. Furthermore, grass on the roof will be used for rainwater management and emphasis has been placed on creating good conditions throughout the building for optimal use of daylight.

The focus on sustainability and green thinking is also emphasized at the Danish educational level. For the second year in a row Danish students from the Technical University of Denmark (DTU) participated in the unofficial World Championships for energy saving houses – Solar Decathlon Europe 2014. The idea behind the competition is to design the intelligent house of the future – energy saving houses, which produce more energy than they consumes. The Danish project, named Embrace, was focused on building cheap, flexible and energy saving houses, placed on roofs of existing buildings in big cities such as Copenhagen. The DTU students ended as number eight out of twenty.

H2C_Image by Matthew Carbone_03
H2C_Image by Matthew Carbone_015
H2C_Image by Matthew Carbone_09
H2C_Image by Matthew Carbone_010

Embassy in Washington honors Wounded Warriors and collects $20,000 in gift cards and books for veterans and their families

This year, the Embassy of Denmark in Washington D.C. decided to use its annual Christmas reception, Creative Christmas, to honor the sacrifice made by men and women in uniform in conflicts where Denmark and the US have been engaged in a common effort, underpinning the strong transatlantic alliance. Creative Christmas is an annual Public Diplomacy event attracting 800+ guests, representing the Embassy’s vast network in Washington, DC.

Many companies from the American-Danish Business Council attended and sponsored the event. ADBC Sponsors included: Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Systematic, Terma, Raytheon, Pratt & Whitney, Sikorsky, and Harris.

Besides two evenings of food and music, the event resulted in the donation of gift cards and 650 books for veterans and wounded warriors. The total value of the donations was close to $20,000 (DKK120.000). In addition to the gift cards and donated books, the author Alison Buckholtz donated copies of her book Standing By and other books were donated by Tarcher Books and MilitaryFamilyBooks.com

Veterans and wounded warriors from both Denmark and the United States were invited to take part in the event. During the reception guests were invited to write a ‘thank you’ note to active servicemen and women and hang them on the ‘honor wall’ provided by the partnering organization Blue Star Families.

In the residence guests enjoyed traditional Danish Christmas food and on display were homemade Danish ‘Christmas Hearts’ created by Danish families, embassy staff and the Danish School of Washington D.C. The ‘Christmas Hearts’ together with all donated gift cards and books will be given to veteran’s families at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center as a sign of our grat­itude for their sacrifice.

The four participating Danish veterans from Denmark were: Jens Fjordbak Søndergaard, Claus Søgaard Jensen, Mark Ingmann Peters and Jacob Panton Kristiansen.

The veterans had an eventful week in Washington, D.C. Their activities included visits to the National Museum of the Marine Corps, Mount Vernon, a guided tour of the Washington, D.C. area, including Arlington Cemetery, The White House, Capitol Hill, Lockheed Martin and Gettysburg.

And last but not least a visit to the Pentagon, where the veterans were honored by approximately 800 Pentagon employees. All-in-all, it was an unforgettable experience for the four wounded warriors and those at Creative Christmas who visited with them.

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Greening the Embassy

A project that has been high on the agenda since 2010 is at long last moving vigorously forward under the direction of the new Deputy Chief of Mission Lars Bo Møller. There have been many road blocks and issues concerning the project to Green the Embassy buildings – not least financing these projects.

The Embassy already buys electricity from Constellation that supplies power 100% from wind – before Constellation we bought for several years from another renewable energy supplier.

We are now mulching and composting leaves from the grounds for reuse on the property. Furthermore, we are doing more rigorous recycling – exceeding more than 8 cubic yards per week.

Grundfos has recently completed an audit of the pumps in the Embassy with a view to replacing the pumps with more energy efficient models in the future. We are planning to replace all of the faucets and fixtures to low flow and reduced flush in order to save water during our bathroom remodel. We also have water meters in the cooling towers to monitor water use. We have had discussions on the possibility of collecting rain water for non-potable use.

The chiller has been replaced in the air conditioning system to a state of the art electromagnetic high efficiency model. We are also looking at the possibility of placing solar panels on the roof.

In the spring we will establish rain gardens and construct bike shelters. We already have bike racks at the entrance.

The Embassy is continuing to work with the Department of State and the District of Columbia Council to make the first modern Embassy in Washington the “greenest” as well. This is in keeping with the original intent that the Embassy buildings should reflect the values of the Danish people. Today sustainability, energy efficiency and promoting renewable energy are some of our core values.

Danish Ministers attend the annual meetings at the IMF and World Bank Group

Ending extreme poverty by ensuring inclusive growth and fighting inequality: The Danish Minister for Development and Trade, Mogens Jensen, Minister of Economic affairs and the Interior, Morten Østergaard, and Governor of the Danish National Bank, Lars Rohde, will visit Washington D.C. to attend the annual meetings at the IMF and World Bank Group.

The two ministers and the Governor will attend the Annual Meetings in the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank Group on October 10-12, 2014 in Washington DC. The World Bank discussions will evolve around how to end extreme poverty while fighting inequality and ensuring inclusive economic growth. The right of the poorest of the poor to have a fair share of the economic growth is a high priority, as Denmark together with our partners work towards ending extreme poverty by 2030. The World Bank is an important and influential global development actor, and thus it is important that Denmark continues to push the World Bank in the right direction. At the Annual Meetings, Denmark thus intends to set the agenda for fighting illicit financial flows that every year robs developing countries of large financial resources that could have been invested in development. Together with this agenda, Denmark will focus on innovative approaches to development, and how public engagement in Public-Private partnerships can bring about job creation and inclusive economic growth that will ensure sustainable and responsible long-term economic development in the world’s poorest countries. Minister Jensen will attend a High Level Meeting on Ebola with UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, World Bank President Kim and IMF Director Lagarde to discuss what are the development needs, how extensive is the crisis and can the international community do more.

As part of his visit, the Minister of Trade and Development is going to visit Danfoss in Baltimore. Danfoss is an example of a successful Danish company doing business in the US. The US is the largest export market for Danfoss. At Danfoss the Minister is also joining a breakfast roundtable with business leaders from Danish subsidiaries. The theme of the roundtable is the commercial potential for Danish companies in the USA and the potential impact of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. Minister Jensen will also meet with President of the AFL-CIO Mr. Richard L. Trumka to discuss the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership

http://usa.um.dk/en/news/newsdisplaypage/?newsID=128CF6F2-A34C-43D4-9E0C-49B12F02495D

Minister for Economic and Interior Affairs visits Washington D.C.

A delegation headed by Morten Ostergaard, Minister for Economic and Interior Affairs visited Washington briefly in October. The delegation included Jacob Blomgren Knudsen, Special Advisor; Eva Lisby, Secretary to the Minister; Michael Jørholm, Special Consul; Rasmus Degn, Office Director; Steen Lohmann Poulsen, Director of Department.

The delegation attended the World Bank/IMF Annual Meeting and met with other dignitaries: including, Zhu Guangyao, Deputy Finance Minister from China; Jason Furman, Chairman of Council of Economic Advisers; Poul Thomsen, Acting Director, IMF European Department; and Caroline Atkinson, Deputy Assistant to the President on International Economics. The group also attended a reception for the Baltic delegates to the IMF/World Bank Annual Meeting.