Minister of Industry Probes Chinese Investor’s Plans Skip to content

Minister of Industry Probes Chinese Investor’s Plans

oddnyghardardottir_althingiActing Minister of Industry Oddný Harðardóttir would like answers from the investment company of Chinese entrepreneur Huang Nubo on environmental and planning issues before making a decision on whether to grant his company, Beijing Zhongkun Investment Group, a legal exemption to rent the piece of land Grímsstaðir á Fjöllum in northeast Iceland.

“I must review the issue and take all of its aspects into consideration,” Oddný told Fréttablaðið.

She presented the conclusions of a committee on concessions for new investments at a cabinet meeting last week, which also covers Huang’s request to rent Grímsstaðir and build a hotel there.

The committee suggests making an investment agreement with Huang’s company, which would include a legal exemption to enable a foreign-owned company to rent the piece of land.

Oddný pointed out that an agreement must be made with an Icelandic company in Huang’s ownership, which has yet to be established.

“I assume that the representatives of this company will contact us at the Ministry of Industry to review other aspects of this project and how they correlate with the investment agreement,” the minister said.

She added she is pleased that the concession committee believes all conditions for making the agreement have been fulfilled.

“We expect to receive documents from the ministry regarding the agreement in the coming days,” said Halldór Jóhannsson, Huang’s representative in Iceland. “I don’t believe the minister can go against the conclusions of this professional committee.”

To start the planned development at Grímsstaðir, Huang must make a 10-year investment contract with the Icelandic state. But first a company established by local municipalities must acquire the piece of land and rent it to Huang. A 40-year lease is planned.

Halldór said if this is achieved, design and planning of the area will begin immediately. He finds it unlikely that construction can begin this year; the goal is for the hotel to open in 2016.

Huang stated in an interview with China Daily on Friday that the lease contract for Grímsstaðir is about to be finalized and that it appears that his patience is finally about to pay off.

Huang said he is hoping to sign the agreement in mid-June and that the duration of the lease contract will be 99 years, although the Icelandic media has reported it will be for 40 years.

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