Category Archives: News from Trade Council

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Minister for Environment and Food visits New York

For the third year running food festival North, the largest celebration of Nordic cuisine outside of Northern Europe, came to New York City for six days from September 23rd-28th. Dubbed “the most influential gastronomy movement since the 1960s”, New Nordic Cuisine has had a huge impact on the world’s dining scene since it arrived 10 years ago.

In September the Danish Minister for Environment and Food, Eva Kjer Hansen, visited New York to highlight Danish gastronomy and Danish culinary entrepreneurs in the U.S., including a new Nordic Food Hall in Grand Central Station, opening in spring 2016. Claus Meyer, a celebrated chef, author and food activist, is passionate about promoting Nordic food and culture within the US. His opening of the Nordic food hall in New York City will undoubtedly help promote Danish products. The Trade Council plans to help promote Danish products in relation to the opening of the food hall.

The US is particularly important because it is the world’s largest consumer market, especially in regard to food and produce. Therefore, it is no wonder that Danish businesses are keen to do business in the US. Exports within food and agriculture make up approximately 10 per cent of Danish exports to the US. Companies and the Danish Government are working on increasing these numbers even further. Minister Hansen took part in a roundtable with American and Danish companies to discuss the opportunities for export to the US and attracting foreign investments to Denmark. Overall the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership agreement (TTIP) was discussed as a helpful measure to ensure and increase future collaboration between Denmark and the US – especially in regard to food and life science.. Furthermore Danish values, such as clean produce, organic goods, animal welfare, use of fewer antibiotics and high quality products are valued in the US.

The Minister also met with Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Krysta Harden on Friday September 25th to discuss the status of TTIP and its ramifications when completed. They agreed that several areas will be difficult issues in negotiations but the opportunities for both sides are immense. Another area of discussion was the rules and regulations around the export of Danish organic animal products.

The Danish participation at North was in collaboration with VisitDenmark, The Consulate General of Denmark and the FOOD Organization of Denmark.

Welcome to DONG Energy in the U.S.

New member of the American Danish Business Council, DONG Energy has officially launched its entry into the United States.

September 21st, Ambassador Lars Gert Lose launched the beginning of an exciting new business venture for the Danish energy-company DONG Energy. Traditionally, DONG Energy is one of Northern Europe’s foremost suppliers of offshore wind power.

The launch event took place at the Institute for Contemporary Art in Boston (MA), where many prominent personalities, stakeholders and companies were present. Governor Baker of Massachusetts spoke and welcomed Dong to the States. Samuel Leupold, Executive Vice President, DONG Energy Wind Power, participated in unveiling the new player in the US offshore wind energy market; Bay State Wind.

Ambassador Lars Loses opening speech
Ambassador Lars Loses opening speech

In his speech the ambassador highlighted this exciting new venture by saying;

I am confident that this type of technology and know-how will be of great value in any country. Also here in the United States.

The amazing accomplishments that Denmark has achieved within offshore wind are, in no small part, thanks to Danish companies like DONG Energy and their innovative technologies.

I therefore wish DONG Energy all the best in this new and exciting endeavor. I hope that the launch event will be the first of many successes here.

Blue Community Conference and Workshop on Water Management Practices

On June 3rd 2015, The National Building Museum, the Embassy of Denmark and the Confederation of Danish Industry organized a workshop and conference on Blue Urbanism: Rethinking Rain in connection with the exhibition HOT TO COLD: an odyssey of architectural adaption.

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The workshop included a short presentation by five speakers, all working closely with water management in Denmark and the U.S. The speakers were: Jørgen Abilgaard, Climate Project Director City of Copenhagen, public planning and implementation; Karen Pallansch, CEO, Alexandria Renew Enterprises; Eric Fontenot, Senior Engineer, DHI Group; Mette Søs Lassesens, Group Director, Rambøll group in the US and George Hawkins, General Manager, DC Water and Sewer Authority. The presentations gave the participants an opportunity to learn more about specific case stories on how Copenhagen, Washington D.C. and Alexandria have approached and implemented cloudburst management and water management. Following each presentation the participants had the chance to ask questions of the speakers and to discuss some of the challenges that lie ahead for water management. Susan ‘Piedmont-Palladino from the National Building Museum moderated the discussions.

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The Ambassador of Denmark to the U.S. Peter Taksøe-Jensen opened the following conference on Blue Urbanism. Here speakers from Denmark and the U.S. gave their thoughts on how to “rethink rain” and gave the participants an insight into their current projects on the matter. The speakers included: Tommy Wells, Acting Director of D.C. Department of the Environment; Jørgen Abildgaard, Climate Project Director City of Copenhagen; Kai-Uwe Bergmann, Architect and Partner, BIG; Susannah C. Drake, AIA, FASLA, founding principal of Dlandstudio and Scott Davis, Visiting Fellow at the RAND Corporation. Following the presentations, the speakers joined together for a panel discussion.

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The Blue Community Conference and Workshop attracted many participants who all got a more profound understanding of how to deal with water management. After all, the idea is to redefine rain; it’s not waste; it’s a resource – and companies in the U.S. and Denmark are collaborating to make use of this resource.


The climate is changing and the socio-economic consequences following extreme weather events – rising sea levels, changing salinity, acidification, drought, etc. – demand that we re-evaluate our relationship with water. With renewed awareness of the critical importance of fresh water to our health and the health of the planet, and the limits of large-scale engineering solutions, it is thus pertinent that cities around the world start the planning of how to adapt to the changing environment and focus practices for water management. Extreme scenario planning and integrated urban design will be vital when preparing our cities and minimizing the damages following for instance a cloudburst.

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The new Food Safety Modernization Act is ready for publishing this year

For the first time in 70 years the FDA is reforming their food safety laws. During the next 12 months, 7 new food safety laws, that have been under way for the last 4 years, will be published. The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) that was signed into law by President Obama on Jan. 4th 2011 enables FDA to better protect public health by strengthening the food safety system. It gives FDA new tools and authorities to control, both the domestic food production and the import of food to the US. The rules are not yet published in the federal register, but for most of the laws, the contents are already known.

The main focus of the FSMA is the shift from a response-based approach to at preventative approach towards contamination. For the first time, FDA will have a legislative mandate to require comprehensive, science-based preventive controls across the food supply.

Foodborne illnesses are a significant public health burden, and it is expected that the new safety laws will be able to prevent a large part of the many yearly outbreaks.

In respect to imports, there are 5 key areas of change:

  • Importer accountability: For the first time, importers have an explicit responsibility to verify that their foreign suppliers have adequate preventive controls in place to ensure that the food they produce is safe. (Final regulation and guidance due 1 year following enactment)
  • Third Party Certification: The FSMA establishes a program through which qualified third parties can certify that foreign food facilities comply with U.S. food safety standards. This certification may be used to facilitate the entry of imports. (Establishment of a system for FDA to recognize accreditation bodies is due 2 years after enactment)
  • Certification for high risk foods: FDA has the authority to require that high-risk imported foods be accompanied by a credible third party certification or other assurance of compliance as a condition of entry into the U.S.
  • Voluntary qualified importer program: FDA must establish a voluntary program for importers that provides for expedited review and entry of foods from participating importers. Eligibility is limited to, among other things, importers offering food from certified facilities. (Implementation due 18 months after enactment)
  • Authority to deny entry: FDA can refuse entry into the U.S. of food from a foreign facility if FDA is denied access by the facility or the country in which the facility is located.

As the embassy is closely following the development of the FSMA, more information about the laws will be posted as soon as they are published. If you have any questions or inquiries, you are welcome to contact Counselor of Food and Agriculture, Anna de Klauman at anklasu@um.dk.

 

Eksportguiden.dk – one way to all public export programs

In order to coordinate the export promotion offers for Danish companies, the website Eksportguiden.dk (Hyperlink) was launched on May 18th, 2015. The export promotion guide is part of the export promotion and economic diplomacy strategy imposed by the Danish government in May 2014.

The concept behind Eksportguiden.dk is to give Danish companies an overview of all export programs, news and events from the cities, regions and business organizations combined in one portal. The website makes it easier for the companies to find information about, for example, financing, advisory services and funds for export activities. By using the search function, companies can seek opportunities within their respective region, sector or area of ​​interest.

Eksportguiden.dk is being maintained by the Trade Council and news and events from the Trade council and all The Trade Council’s partners are also accessible on the website.

Denmark is ranked the best country in the world to do business!

According to an analysis by Forbes from December 2014, Denmark is ranked as the Best Country for Business out of 146 economies around the world. Forbes determined the Best Countries for Business by rating 146 economies on 11 different factors: corruption, property rights, technology, innovation, taxes, freedom (personal, trade and monetary), red tape, investor protection and stock market performance – each factor was equally weighted. The business climate of Denmark is described as being extremely positive. Denmark finished within top 25 in all of the 11 categories and ranked first in both personal freedom and low corruption.

Moreover, the World Bank recently published its 12th annual report “Doing Business 2015, ranking the Best Countries for Business around the world. According to this report, Denmark is ranked as the economy with the fourth most business-friendly regulations out of 189 economies around the world. Doing Business ranks the economies using the Distance to Frontier score (DTF), which is a score that benchmarks economies with respect to the regulatory environment. The DTF score is calculated on behalf of two main types of indicators: those that measure the complexity and cost of the regulatory process (starting a business, construction permits, getting electricity, registering property, paying taxes and trading across boarders) and those that measure the strength of the legal institutions (getting credit, protecting minority investors, enforcing contracts, resolving insolvency and labor market regulations). With a DTF score of 84.20 out of 100, Denmark is a front runner when it comes to creating a business-friendly environment.

Why choose Denmark?

In March 2015, Invest in Denmark published an analysis called “Hvorfor Danmark”, describing what attracts foreign investors to Denmark. The data used for the analysis covered 155 investors from 34 different countries and was performed by an independent consulting agency at the request of Invest in Denmark.

The analysis showed that access to highly professional, technical and commercial competences, as well as a highly qualified workforce was the most significant factor for attracting 80% of the foreign investors. Three out of four investments were within areas where Denmark is well-known for its competences – i.e.: Life Sciences, information and communications technology (ICT), CleanTech and the Maritime sector. Furthermore, 73% of the investors described the well-developed Danish infrastructure (airports, roads and railroads) as a positive influence and 71% emphasized trade access to the rest of Scandinavia and Europe as important. As a result, the Doing Business 2015 report ranked Denmark #7th in regard to the quality of its export/import regulations.

According to the Doing Business 2015 report, the Danish government is a front runner when it comes to creating rules and regulations that facilitate interactions in the marketplace without necessarily hindering the development of the private sector. In the analysis made by Invest in Denmark, investors point to the Danish regulatory system as an important safeguard for businesses, assuring transparency and stability in the market. Actually, the analyses shows that only 50% of investors in 2012 were positive regarding the Danish regulatory system, whereas it was 80% of investors in 2014. This is a trend that is also seen for American investors, who gradually have expressed growing satisfaction with the Danish corporate tax level and business regulations. The so-called business cluster effect, where commercial establishments within a particular field group together in the same location, appears to be of significant influence – especially to American investors. In addition, American investors expect that the relative high Danish salaries will be offset by a highly skilled and productive workforce.

Denmark is the world’s fifth largest maritime shipping nation!

As gatekeeper to the Baltic Sea, Denmark’s geographic location has played a strong influential factor in the country’s development into one of the world’s leading maritime nations. Surrounded by sea, Denmark has more than 400 islands and a total coastline of over 7,000 kilometers. Therefore, maritime transport has been a vital source of income in Denmark and is continually growing hand-in-hand with increasing international trade. Danes have been active in the shipping business from the Viking era. Today almost 10% of global trade is transported by ships under Danish control.

On May 30th, 2014 the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark published a new special report on the Danish maritime sector called: “Focus Denmark – A new era of shipping”. The report provides an insight into the past and current state of the Danish maritime sector and outlines the future focus of Danish shipping.

Since 1996 the total volume of goods transported by the global merchant fleet has more than doubled. Measured in GT (gross tonnage), the total volume of goods has increased from app. 450,000 GT in 1996 to more than 1 billion GT in 2013. Today approximately 90% of global goods are transported by sea and, in Denmark; about 75% of all Danish exports are conveyed by ship. The massive growth in the volume of goods shipped by sea worldwide since 1996 is largely a result of increased global trade. Maritime shipping is significantly cheaper and produces far fewer environmentally harmful substances and greenhouse gases per transported tonnage/kilometer compared to air and ground transport.

Koji Sekimizu, Secretary-General of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), expressed his confidence in the future of shipping at the International Shipping Conference (ICS) in London in September 2013: “The fortunes of shipping are directly related to the strength of global trade; and, despite the current global economic problems, growth in the longer term seems inevitable. A global population that has passed 7 billion people and is still rising should ensure that is the case. So, in the longer term, shipping has great cause for optimism, with a strong future ahead of it.”

However, even though everything points in the direction of continued growth in the industry, there will most likely be major shifts between countries, according to Henrik Sornn-Friese, Associate Professor and Director of CBS Maritime at Copenhagen Business School. “The old way of doing things, where you designed a ship in the West, built it in the East and marketed and operated it in the West, is disappearing. At the same time, there are lots of well-qualified shipping personnel in many of the emerging economies.”

 

The Danish merchant fleet is larger than ever before

According to a report from the Danish Ship-owners Association that was published in the end of 2014, the Danish merchant fleet has grown by 13% since 2013. With 637 ships transporting about 13.8 million GT, the Danish-flagged merchant fleet has never been greater. Numbers provided by Invest in Denmark states that Danish ship owners own approximately 3% of the world’s tonnage transported by sea and 6% of the world’s tonnage is operated from Denmark. The increasing number of Danish ships is particularly related to the inflow of ships involved in the installation of offshore wind turbines and offshore supply vessels. Approximately 115,000 people work in the Danish maritime sector and the industries supplying the shipping industry. The maritime of Danish maritime companies accounts for about 24% of the total Danish export.

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Denmark is the world’s fifth largest maritime shipping nation – only surpassed by Japan, Greece, China and Germany. Currently, Danish shipping companies around the world control approximately 2,100 merchant ships. Maersk Line is Denmark’s and the world’s largest container shipping company, with more than 600 ships, 35,000 port calls per year and 100,000 customers around the world. Large Danish shipping companies, such as Norden, DFDS, Clipper, J. Lauritzen and Torm, are also strong players in areas such as product tankers, bulk carriers and service vessels for the offshore industry.

 

The future growth plan for “The Blue Denmark”

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December 12th 2012, the Danish Government presented its growth plan for The Blue Denmark in order to support the Danish merchant fleet. The Danish maritime sector accounts for nearly one-fourth of total Danish exports and is therefore of great importance to Danish growth and workplaces. In order to support continued growth, the growth plan aims at attracting international partners and investors in the areas of environmental friendliness, servicing the offshore industry, sailing in Arctic waters and other niches where Danish shipping is a world leader. The shipping industry growth plan is based on three main objectives, which are explained below: 

  1. Denmark is to be Europe’s maritime center.

An important factor for developing and growing Danish shipping is a highly skilled workforce, as well as continued inflow of qualified employees, both at sea and ashore. In 2006, the Blue Denmark established a collective recruitment effort to increase the amount of qualified labor to the industry. The campaign focuses on raising awareness of the Danish maritime sector, clarifying career opportunities, and insuring the supply of qualified applicants.

In the summer of 2014 a new Bachelor of International Shipping and Trade begun as a result of collaboration between Singapore Management University (SMU) and Copenhagen Business School (CBS). During the program the students will be brought together, first for a semester at CBS followed by a semester at SMU. Martin Jes Iversen, Associate Professor and Head of Studies for the program, stresses that these new students will be in strong demand: “There is a great need in shipping for people who can work in an international environment and who have good cultural and social skills.

  1. Denmark must lead the way with green solutions in shipping

In 2008, members of the Danish Ship-owners Association launched efforts to reduce the Danish merchant fleet’s total carbon emissions by 25% by 2020. Danish shipping companies have worked hard towards achieving this goal and today the target is close to being met, despite the fact the tonnage being shipped has risen by 60% since 2008. Initiatives that have contributed to reaching the target include: cuts in fuel consumption through technical improvements and climate-friendly sailing, including optimized shipping routes and “slow steaming”, which saves fuel by reducing speed.

Denmark has called for more regulation of the global shipping industry and has suggested an overall global target for reducing carbon emissions. Denmark has introduced three environmental proposals in the IMO. These proposals included some basic principles for the regulation of the global shipping industry’s carbon emissions, which have now been adopted by the IMO. Denmark also proposed a design index that implies strict carbon efficiency requirements for the building of new ships. Finally, Denmark proposed the implementation of a fuel contribution for ships in international shipping traffic. The contribution should be payable to an international fund who should assist in funding climate initiatives in developing countries.

  1. Growth in the maritime cluster will primarily be in “advanced shipping”.

Copenhagen is still on level with Singapore and other international ‘hubs’ for shipping, but a sharper profile will be necessary in the future,” Sornn-Friese says. “Even more so than today, Denmark needs to be known as a center for what could be called ‘advanced shipping’, which includes sailing in difficult waters such as the Arctic, supporting offshore activities and environmental, climate-friendly shipping.” 

As well as many other nations, Denmark has a sharp focus on Arctic shipping, because the potential of this region cannot be ignored. The shrinking ice cover in combination with increasing cruise ship tourism, economic benefits of shipping via new routes and the search for oil and other natural resources will undoubtedly lead to more traffic. Denmark aims to ensure that shipping traffic growth will include a focus on the protection for human life, ships, cargo and the Arctic environment. Andreas Nordseth, director general of the Danish Maritime Authority states: “It’s important to establish an international set of rules for shipping in Arctic waters”. In that regard, Denmark is playing an active role in the development of an international “Polar Code” through IMO. Northseth also stresses the fact that it will require additional safety measures to sail the Arctic waters: “A number of Danish shipping companies have experience sailing in Arctic waters. They know that it takes special equipment and special skills to sail in icy waters where weather and ice conditions can change by the hour. It’s unrealistic to maintain a rescue unit in the Arctic like we have in densely populated areas. So it’s vital that we have even greater focus on preventing accidents when sailing in the Arctic.”

To support shipping safety in the Arctic, the Danish Maritime Authority is developing a web-based tool, called ArcticWeb, to help prevent accidents in the area. By the use of Automatic Identification System (AIS) data, the system enables ships to see other ships sailing in the area. ArcticWeb also provides ships with information on ice, weather conditions and navigation warnings in the area, thereby helping to ensure a safer shipping route for the companies.

See also: Andreas Nordseth nominated as Secretary-General of the IMO

Danish companies are more productive when they have subsidiaries outside Denmark

According to a new analysis by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Denmark enjoys significant economic benefits from Danish companies investing in the US. Danish subsidiaries in the US are positively contributing to the earnings of their mother company, thereby, increasing future investments and ensuring increased growth for the overall company.

In 2012, Danish companies operated 11,990 subsidiaries and employed 1,280,000 people in countries outside Denmark. Three-quarters of these subsidiaries were located in Europe, 12% in Asia and 7% in North America. The motivation for Danish companies to make investments outside Denmark may be seen as an attempt to reduce costs: for example, by offshoring some of their operational processes to low-cost countries. The growth of Danish foreign subsidiaries, however, also leads to positive spillover effects. That is, when the subsidiaries grow in revenue, the profits will be transferred back to the headquarters in Denmark. From a macro economics perspective, this will increase consumption and the incentives for new investments. This will then lead to lower interest rates, which will result in enhanced growth and employment and reduce public interest payments. Furthermore, foreign direct investments can act as an important competitive advantage for Danish companies since it is likely to increase productivity and efficiency of the overall company. In 2011, the Danish Ministry of Business and Growth proved that Danish companies with subsidiaries outside Denmark were 10% more productive than Danish companies without foreign subsidiaries. Moreover, foreign subsidiaries can take advantage of local market knowledge regarding market conditions, production, distribution, etc. This local market knowledge can then be transferred back to headquarters and assist executives in improving strategic decision-making.

Danish export of goods to the US in 2014

The positive development in the American economy is promising for American-Danish trade, since the US is Denmark’s largest non-European trading partner. In 2014 the US market accounted for about 9 % of the total Danish export of goods and services.

After a decline in 2013, the Danish export of goods to the US is now almost back at the high level that it was in 2012. According to a new analysis published by the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Danish export of goods to the US has increased to $6.66 billion (DKK 44.381 billion) in 2014 alone – an increase of 7.5% compared to 2013. Chemicals and pharmaceutical products were still the largest single group of exported goods in 2014. The US demand for Danish chemicals and pharmaceutical products has grown impressively over the years and accounted for about half of the total Danish export of goods in 2014; twice as much as the second largest exported good to the US, machinery and transport goods. The third largest exported good is finished products, which accounts for nearly one sixth of the total Danish export of goods to the US.

According to forecasts by the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Danish export of goods to the United States has a bright future. Estimates for 2015 and 2016 are that the export will continue to grow consistently. The export is expected to exceed $7.5 billion (DKK 50 billion) in 2015 (an increase of about 12.7% compared to 2014) and to continue to grow with additional 7% in 2016.

In general, 2014 has been a good year for Danish export to the US. Along with the progress of the action plan,“Vækst via Eksport” / “Growth through Export”, initiated by the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Trade Council, and the prospect of establishing the Transatlantic Trade & Investment Partnership, Danish export is predicted to have a promising future.

Apple establishes one of the world’s largest data centres in Denmark

Apple has announced the establishment of one of the world’s largest data centers in Denmark. The new data center will be powered by renewable energy, and surplus heating will be recycled in the local district heating system, thereby minimizing negative environmental impact.

“I warmly welcome this investment by Apple, which will give a significant boost to the Danish economy. An investment like this confirms that Denmark has managed to strike the right balance between an ambitious and climate-friendly energy policy and a world-class business environment,” says Mogens Jensen, Denmark’s Minister for Trade and Development Cooperation.

Denmark’s green energy policy and strong cleantech cluster have played an important role in the investment decision.

“Apple is universally recognized as one of the world’s leading companies with a long track record of developing cutting-edge products and services. I am delighted that Denmark can offer an innovative and sustainable datacentre solution, powered by renewable energy,” says Mogens Jensen.

Apple’s new data center will be located in Viborg municipality and constructed over a ten year period, along with a similar data center to be located in Ireland. Together, the two new data centers will be among the largest data centers in the world. The total value of the investment exceeds one billion euro, Apple’s biggest European investment ever.

“Not only does this investment confirm Denmark’s position as a world leader within green solutions and renewable energy technology. The investment also underlines that we are indeed a very investment-friendly country offering attractive business opportunities for innovative global companies,” says Mogens Jensen.

For more information, see Invest in Denmark’s homepage.