Icelandic business leaders gathered at the HQ of regional solicitor Wilkin Chapman to celebrate the appointment of Partner Jonathan Goolden as Grimsby’s new Icelandic Consul.
Regulatory Partner at the region’s largest law firm, Jonathan said he was honoured to accept the role – taking over from former colleague David Buckle, who held the diplomatic post from 1999 until his retirement earlier this year. Recognising the importance of Icelandic trade and business to the area, Grimsby is one of seven consulates for the Nordic state in the UK.
Jonathan is now looking forward to further cementing the close business relationships between Grimsby and Iceland, with a focus on the very solid fisheries and shipping links. He is also keen to raise awareness of the less obvious connections, while supporting the Icelandic community that has made the Humber its home.
Orn Jonsson, MD of Atlantic Fresh and Fridrik Thorsteinsson MD of Northcoast Seafoods, joined Seafood Grimsby and Humber’s Simon Dwyer, at Wilkin Chapman’s Cartergate offices to hand over the Commission, which was signed by Icelandic Foreign Minister Gudlaungur Thor Thordarson – officially appointing Jonathan as Honorary Consul in Grimsby.
Jonathan said: “I am honoured to continue Wilkin Chapman’s commitment to supporting the Icelandic community in the Humber and the very substantial fisheries and shipping links between Grimsby and Iceland.
“I look forward to working with Icelandic owned businesses such as Atlantic Fresh and Northcoast to promote trade and cultural links between our two countries,” he added.
Orn and Fridrik both confirmed the importance of Jonathan’s position in assisting with Icelandic matters on a variety of community and business levels.
They explained how the relationship between the Humber region and Iceland had existed for decades – highlighting the help that former Grimsby MP Austin Mitchell and the Grimsby FMA, (Fish Merchants Association) had provided to their native country during the financial crash of 2008.
“There is a unique and integrated business relationship that exists between Iceland and the Humber and one that will continue on both a business and political level,” said Orn.
Fridrik added: “It is important to have these local links, especially when you consider the reliance here of seafood and fresh fish coming from Iceland. There is a very good understanding between both countries of how important this relationship continues to be.”
With the onset of Brexit and trade deals still to be decided both businessmen were keen to highlight just how vital it was to allow the quick and easy transportation of fresh produce into the UK – and Grimsby. Just this autumn, the Treasury has stated its intention to look favourably on such a ‘free port’ deal post-Brexit, allowing such movement on the Humber ports.
Simon Dwyer, an advocate of the sector across the Humber and at the forefront of the ‘free trade’ movement for the Humber, said: “Iceland is an important trading partner for the supply of primarily, haddock and cod, plus other whitefish and shellfish species into the Grimsby processing cluster.
“Active Consular services for Icelandic based businesses and nationals living in the region underpin the Icelandic investments and talent supporting our economy,” he added.