On June 4-5th 2015, the honorary consuls of Denmark in the United States gathered for their bi-annual meeting at the Embassy in Washington DC.
The two-day meeting was arranged as an opportunity for the consuls located all over the U.S. to come together for updates from the consular section of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as well as to receive new information from Danish foreign policy to trade and cultural initiatives. The gathering was also a chance for the consuls to meet, share ideas and strengthen their network with each other.
Trade and Investment
As part of the new instructions for the Honorary Consuls from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the group was briefed on the new guidelines for dealing with trade and investment issues.
The current role of Honorary Consulates in the Embassies’ export and investment promotion activities varies considerably depending on the commercial experience and network of the Consulate and the Embassy. In the light of the Danish Government’s strategic focus on economic diplomacy and in particular public affairs (promoting Danish business interests vis-à-vis public or private decision-makers), it will become increasingly important to mirror this core Danish interest in the possible activities of the Honorary Consulates.
The point of departure is that all commercial enquiries should be directed to the Embassy. However, on a small scale, Honorary Consulates could be involved in commercial activities such as setting up meetings with local authorities and enterprises and answering simple market inquiries from Danish businesses. On these occasions, the Honorary Consul can provide valuable assistance by drawing on his/her network and local knowledge.
Furthermore, on a larger scale and a voluntary case-by-case basis, Honorary Consulates could be engaged by the Embassy to undertake commercial activities that go beyond such small-scale advice and contact making. In these cases, the Consulates would work as “sub-suppliers” to the Embassies, which remain the primary point of contact for the companies and have the overall responsibility for the assignment.
To cap off the consul meeting on Friday, June 5, Ambassador Peter Taksøe-Jensen hosted a reception for the honorary consuls, their spouses, and all the embassy staff. This was an opportunity for the embassy staff to get to know the honorary consuls better and also an opportunity to thank the consuls personally for all that they do for Denmark in the U.S. on a daily basis.
The Embassy of Denmark sincerely thanks all of the consuls for coming to participate and for volunteering their time to serve Denmark’s interests.