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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The Trump administration is eyeing a new trade deal with Iceland amid the U.S. trade war with China and tensions with Europe, officials tell me.

Why it matters: A potential deal isn't about Iceland’s economy, which offers little to the U.S. from a financial perspective. But the Arctic country is strategically located, and the president's national security team has emphasized the importance of investing in the region.

Between the lines: The discussions follow Denmark's blunt rejection of Trump's flirtations about buying Greenland. They also come at a time when China has sought to incorporate Iceland into the Belt and Road Initiative, and as Russia asserts its dominance in the Arctic Circle.

  • "There is a national security importance to that region — being able to strike trade deals and build an alliance with us and not China or Russia," one administration official said.
  • Remember, Vice President Mike Pence added Iceland as a leg on his recent swing through Poland and the U.K.

Behind the scenes: During a Senate GOP lunch last Tuesday, attended by Pence, Sen. John Kennedy strongly encouraged the administration to push forward with a free trade deal with Iceland, according to multiple senators in the room.

  • Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski then gave a similar vote of confidence and said she would support such an agreement.
  • Pence told them that there is a working group exploring a deal and that he is "amenable" to the idea.

I asked several other Republicans senators whether they would support a free trade agreement with Iceland.

  • Most said the topic caught them off guard when it came up during the lunch, but that they're open to it.

Worth noting: Iceland has had a free trade agreement with China since 2014.

Go deeper

Axios-Ipsos poll: People of color face more environmental threats

Expand chart
Data: Axios/Ipsos poll; Note: ±2.5% margin of error; Chart: Sara Wise/Axios

Americans of color are much less likely than white Americans to experience good air quality or tap water or enough trees or green space in their communities, and they're more likely to face noise pollution and litter, a new Axios-Ipsos poll finds.

The big picture: Our national survey shows Black and Hispanic Americans are more likely than their white counterparts to live near major highways or industrial or manufacturing plants — and to have dealt in the past year with water-boil notices or power outages lasting more than 24 hours.

16 hours ago - Health

FDA advisory panel recommends Pfizer boosters for those 65 and older

A healthcare worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine at the Key Biscayne Community Center on Aug. 24, 2021. Photo: Eva Marie Uzcategui/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A key Food and Drug Administration advisory panel on Friday overwhelmingly voted against recommending Pfizer vaccine booster shots for younger Americans, but unanimously recommended approving the third shots for individuals 65 and older, as well as those at high-risk of severe COVID-19.

Why it matters: While the votes are non-binding, and the FDA must still make a final decision, Friday's move pours cold water on the Biden administration's plan to begin administering boosters to most individuals who received the Pfizer vaccine later this month.

17 hours ago - World

France recalls ambassadors from U.S. and Australia over submarine deal

Secretary of State Antony Blinken (L), French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian (C), and French ambassador to the U.S. Philippe Etienne. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images

France has taken the extraordinary step of recalling its ambassadors to the U.S. and Australia after both countries blindsided their French allies with a new military pact and submarine contract, the French Foreign Ministry announced on Friday.

The backstory: While sealing an agreement with the U.S. and U.K. to acquire nuclear submarines, Australia ripped up an existing $90 billion submarine deal with France. That led senior French officials to accuse the U.S. of a "stab in the back."

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