Interior Minister to Fight Chinese Investment in Iceland Skip to content

Interior Minister to Fight Chinese Investment in Iceland

ogmundur-jonasson_radherraMinister of the Interior Ögmundur Jónasson would like the government to revoke a legal amendment on concessions in light of Chinese investor Huang Nubo’s plans to obtain a long-term lease on the piece of land Grímsstaðir á Fjöllum in Northeast Iceland.

Ögmundur told Fréttablaðið that he intends to discuss the matter with his fellow ministers tomorrow.

According to law, parties outside the EEA cannot purchase or obtain a lease for more than three years on pieces of land in Iceland. Ögmundur rejected Huang’s application for exemption to these laws when he tried to acquire Grímsstaðir last year.

In 2010, laws on concession were established to encourage new investments, which could enable the Chinese businessman to avoid the aforementioned legislation.

“We must review these concessions and the participation of Chinese to acquisitions or lease of land and it is obvious that we must launch talks with municipalities in Northeast Iceland on future development,” Ögmundur said.

The minister added it is necessary to be careful when it comes to ownership of Icelandic land and natural resources and that one of the most important projects today is to react sensibly to requests from foreign tycoons and companies intending to invest in Iceland.

“I can see that Nubo’s agent in Iceland finds it normal that superpowers like the Chinese are interested in having a say in decision-making, such as regarding a port for large vessels and oil refinery in Northeast Iceland,” Ögmundur stated.

“I ask in return: what about the Icelandic state? Isn’t it important that we as a nation and state are protective of our future interests?” the minister concluded.

Meanwhile, a Swedish businessman, John Harald Örneberg, founder and director of The Forest Company, has bought pieces of land in Langidalur Valley in the innermost part of Ísafjarðardjúp in the West Fjords, in partnership with Icelandic investors, reports.

The buyer is a company called Varpland hf. and the pieces of land, Kirkjuból, Brekka, Neðri-Bakki and half of Tunga, were sold by the company Lífsval.

Founded in 2002, Lífsval owned 45 pieces of land around the country when it was taken over by Landsbanki early this year. The bank has since been selling its properties. stresses that the combined size of the pieces of land in Langidalur now owned by Varpland is only a fraction of the 300 square kilometers of Grímsstaðir á Fjöllum.

Click here to read more about Grímsstaðir and here to read more about the planned port and oil refinery in Northeast Iceland.


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