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People's Daily Online>>Foreign Affairs

Tycoon slams Iceland's land sale snub

By Zhu Shanshan (Global Times)

08:21, November 28, 2011

Huang Nubo Photo: CFP

A Chinese tycoon on Sunday criticized Iceland's rejection of his land purchase bid as prejudiced and warned of growing trade protectionism and invisible trade barriers in the West against China.

"I was shocked when they denied my purchase, and their reason for rejecting it was absurd because we were told something totally different before making the application," Huang Nubo, the chairman of the Zhongkun Investment Group, told the Global Times.

On Friday, authorities in Reykjavik turned down Huang's application to purchase the 300-square-kilometer Grimsstadir farm in northeast Iceland for about one billion Iceland krona ($8.3 million).

Iceland's Interior Ministry said that the deal did not meet legal requirements for land sales to companies outside the European Economic Area, including one that required company directors to be Icelandic citizens or permanent residents for at least five years, and that 80 percent of shares in purchasing firms should be held by Icelandic citizens.

Icelandic law "imposes strict conditions on corporations wishing to acquire ownership or the right to use Icelandic properties and it is clear that the company in question doesn't fulfill any of the requirements," the ministry said.

"The question is not how can we turn down direct foreign investment of this magnitude, but rather how can one nation do anything else but comply with the laws it has passed for itself?" Minister of the Interior Ogmundur Jonasson said by phone to Bloomberg.

"It would have been easy to circumvent these laws by establishing an Icelandic limited liability company. That reminds us of the necessity to reconsider these laws from top to bottom," Jonasson said.

However, Huang told the Global Times that Icelandic officials had not raised such requirements during their initial contacts.

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Leave your comment8 comments

  1. Name

Harland at 2011-11-30204.152.207.*
Hahaha! Classic! It"s exactly like being a foreign businessman in China!
jay at 2011-11-30219.101.196.*
What Huang experienced is a consequence of China"s state-driven capitalism and state-owned enterprises. How do you separate private enterprise from the state? Until China gives up on state capitalism they will run into legitimate suspicion.
SUPERBALL900 at 2011-11-3098.95.76.*
"It was a hard lesson for me and my fellow Chinese investors. Never jump into an investment without sound knowledge of the country and the case," Huang noted. " In other words, he had no idea that his 红包 (money gift) kickback wasn"t enough to get the green light to do whatever under the sun he wanted
JurgenSmurgen at 2011-11-29222.66.100.*
"Reiterating that his investment bore no political intention and was purely a commercial purchase, Huang said that the failure of his attempt showed the injustice and prejudice private Chinese investors face when trying to make international acquisitions."The rejection sent a message to Chinese investors that you are welcome to emigrate, or to buy properties and luxury goods, but if you want to engage in anything related with natural resources, you"re not welcome here," Huang said."We always hear some Western countries urging China to be more open, but at the same time, they set up trade barriers and guard against Chinese investors and companies. This is what we call double standard," Huang added."So having learned that his investment or land purchase did not meet regulatory approval because it did not qualify ... it is because the evil west are prejudiced towards the Chinese & operate double standards?Or could it be that the Chinese entrepreneur didn"t do his diligence, got it wrong ... and has lost so much face ... the only way he can respond is to shout "it"s not fair" and "what an injustice to the Chinese!"?
James at 2011-11-2889.160.167.*
Huang Nupo is welcome to build a eco hotel in Iceland, he know that. He was always told that it was only posible for him to buy so big peace of land if the goverment was ready to go against the law. And they could not - Big group in Iceland is very sad, and others are glad to see that the law is working even though the country need the money! Most people would not sell their Grand mam in hard times.
  

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