12:52 GMT +318 February 2019
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    A ship in the East Siberian Sea. (File)

    Finland Emphasizes Economic Rules as Arctic Northern Pass Opens for Trade

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    The opening of the Northern Passage shipping route in the Arctic is creating a need for internationally agreed upon trade and environmental standards, Finnish Ambassador to the United States Kirsti Kauppi told Sputnik on Friday.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik), Leandra Bernstein — Finland is set to assume the chairmanship of the eight-nation Arctic Council in 2017, after the current US term ends.

    "What is important for us, is that this cooperative work on the common rules and regulations [in the Arctic] is done in time, so that whatever happens and whatever economic activity takes place is on a sound environmental basis," Kauppi said.

    Kauppi noted that during its chairmanship, Finland will focus on common "guidelines" and setting a path to sustainable "long-term interests" in Arctic development.

    However, Kauppi emphasized the need to address the growing Arctic economic activity "early" to best ensure environmental sustainability, preserve the interests of Arctic natives as well as accommodate the growing number of people taking part in trade and other activities in the region.

    In 2012, Russia’s Gazprom made the first ever liquefied natural gas delivery through the Arctic north-east route, from Norway to Japan. The following year, the first large cargo vessel made its maiden voyage through the Northern Passage. Since, other larger cargo vessels have made the trip as rising global temperatures result in reduced ice cover.

    The Northern Passage route can reduce the time of traditional shipping through the Panama Canal by at least 1,000 nautical miles and at least four days.


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