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

Updated 20 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 9 a.m. ET: 20,952,811 — Total deaths: 760,235— Total recoveries: 13,015,397Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 9 a.m. ET: 5,254,878 — Total deaths: 167,253 — Total recoveries: 1,774,648 — Total tests: 64,831,306Map.
  3. Health: The pandemic's toll on mental health — The kids who are most at risk.
  4. Business: How small businesses got stiffed — Unemployment starts moving in the right direction.
  5. Politics: Biden signals fall strategy with new ads.
  6. 🎧 Podcast: Economic data turns unreliable.

How small businesses got stiffed by the coronavirus pandemic

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The story of American businesses in the coronavirus pandemic is a tale of two markets — one made up of tech firms and online retailers as winners awash in capital, and another of brick-and-mortar mom-and-pop shops that is collapsing.

Why it matters: The coronavirus pandemic has created an environment where losing industries like traditional retail and hospitality as well as a sizable portion of firms owned by women, immigrants and people of color are wiped out and may be gone for good.

Apple's antitrust fight turns Epic

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Millions of angry gamers may soon join the chorus of voices calling for an antitrust crackdown on Apple, as the iPhone giant faces a new lawsuit and PR blitz from Epic Games, maker of mega-hit Fortnite.

Why it matters: Apple is one of several Big Tech firms accused of violating the spirit, if not the letter, of antitrust law. A high-profile lawsuit could become a roadmap for either building a case against tech titans under existing antitrust laws or writing new ones better suited to the digital economy.