Iceland's UK Ambassador to strengthen ties with visit to North East Lincolnshire
GRIMSBY is to host a working visit by Iceland’s UK Ambassador as the area looks to improve its already strong links with the Nordic country post-Brexit.
As the UK enters its period of transition out of the EU, North East Lincolnshire’s business community is determined to facilitate discussions between itself and countries, such as Iceland, to ensure the relationships that currently exist are strengthened.
Key to that aim, the Humber’s Grimsby-based Icelandic consulate Jonathan Goolden – a Partner at Wilkin Chapman solicitors – has been integral in facilitating the visit by His Excellency Mr Stefán Haukur Jóhannesson.
Arriving on the evening of Thursday, February 6, Mr Jóhannesson will be the guest at a reception at Grimsby Institute’s Gallery Restaurant, attended by the Fish Merchants Association and other representatives from the sector. Dinner will centre on the theme of ‘Icelandic Fish, Made Great in Grimsby’.
Friday, February 7, will see the Ambassador undertake a packed schedule, which starts with a reception at the Cartergate headquarters of Wilkin Chapman. Accompanied by Jonathan, and Icelandic diplomat Ingólfur Friðriksson, he will then be driven to a series of high-level meetings at the ABP Port offices, the Freeman Street Hub and the Town Hall. In the spirit of Nordic relations, the Stoneacre Volvo Grimsby dealership, in Altyre Way, has provided a vehicle for the visit.
Discussions during the day will centre around a mix of issues, ranging from Port operations and border inspection arrangements to Brexit, the local businesses that are dependent on Iceland and the historic Nordic links that exist.
There will then be a meeting with North East Lincolnshire’s Conservative MPs, Martin Vickers and Lia Nici during which Humber Freeport is on the agenda, while there will be an opportunity to meet fishmongers and enjoy a fish cookery demonstration at Freeman Street Market. The final stop is Grimsby Town Hall and a reception with council leaders, and the Chief Executive of the Humber Local Enterprise Partnership (HLEP), Kishor Tailor.
Looking forward to the visit, Jonathan Goolden said: “Here in North East Lincolnshire, we must look at our area, post-Brexit, with optimism – one of opportunity to work with partners, such as Iceland to forge a greater future for us all. This visit provides an opportunity to do just that, both to listen and to be heard.”
Fish Merchants Association representative Simon Dwyer has helped to facilitate the visit: “Our Association and its members have close commercial trade and supply-chain relationships with Iceland. We meet and liaise regularly with the Ambassador and his team. The cluster imports about 50,000t of fresh and frozen fish from Iceland that arrives into the regional seaports and also flown into East Midlands airport. The vast majority of this fish is transported to Grimsby for processing for major retailers, food service companies and fish & chip shops. Supplies are also crucial for merchants who buy fresh fish from our auction market.” he said.
New Great Grimsby MP Lia Nici has already made her voice heard on the fishing and seafood sector in Parliament. “The strong links we already have provide us with a perfect platform upon which we can grow together, and I am very much looking forward to welcoming the Ambassador here,” said Lia.
Cleethorpes MP Martin Vickers added: “Having met the Ambassador on a number of previous occasions, I know of his enthusiasm to maintain the intrinsic links between our two areas and visits such as these are important ways of not just maintaining that relationship, but improving it even further.”