Prime Minister Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir cautioned people to trust the system to ensure that foreign investors in Iceland operate fairly and with the interests of the nation at heart.
The Prime Minister made the remarks in the midst of growing concerns about Chinese investment in Iceland. While two separate Chinese companies have most recently expressed an interest in doing business with the country, one of them wants to export water – which has caused little public concern – while another, owned by Huang Nubo, is willing to pay 1 billion ISK for land in Grímsstaðir á Fjöllum. The land has been for sale for some time now, and Nubo would like to build a luxury hotel on the location.
The problem is, Icelandic law forbids those from outside of Europe from owning land in Iceland, unless they make a formal request that an exception be made in their case.
The Icelandic blog world has shown the usual trends that occur whenever foreign investors have an interest in Iceland: suspicion, assuming the worst motivations behind the investment, and the belief that the investors will prove untrustworthy.
In an interview with RÚV, the Prime Minister tried to assuage these concerns, saying that Icelandic law will protect its people from shady business deals and filter out investors with less than honest intentions. She believes distrust in Nubo is unwarranted.
“This is what we need,” she said. “We need to increase growth. We need foreign investment.” She urged listeners not to be afraid of foreigners, but to rather work with them for the better of the country.