U.S. Embassy Denmark
Dag Hammarskjölds Alle 24
2100 Copenhagen, Denmark
Other Areas in the Kingdom of Denmark
The Faroe Islands
The Faroe Islands have an open economy and multiple trade agreements with other countries. For more than two centuries, the Faroese economy has relied on fisheries and related industries. Fisheries (including agriculture, hunting, and forestry) account for 22 percent of the Faroe Islands’ domestic factor income. About 95 percent of goods exports are fish products. Salmon alone accounts for 38 percent of goods exports. As a non-EU member, the Faroe Islands had open access to the Russian market post-2014, despite Russia’s retaliatory trade embargo on certain food imports from the EU. This allowed the Faroese to sell increased quantities of salmon to the Russian market at a premium even while prices dropped significantly in the European market. The Faroese government announced in February 2022 that it supports Western sanctions against Russia in the wake of its invasion of Ukraine and passed legislation in May to enable it to implement sanctions against Russia and Belarus.
The islands exported $1.59 billion (DKK 10 billion) worth of goods in 2021, 95 percent of which were fish products, with the remainder being marine vessels and aircraft resales. In recent years, construction, transportation, banking, and other financial services sectors have grown, and offshore oil and gas exploration is developing, though commercially viable finds have not been made. In 2021, the top destination for goods exports was Russia (23.3 percent), followed by Denmark (12.6 percent), the United States (10.6 percent), and the United Kingdom (10.5 percent). Goods imports totaled $1.46 billion (DKK 9.2 billion) in 2021, with the vast majority from Europe. Of total Faroes’ goods imports, 23.2 percent came from Denmark, followed by Norway (12.8 percent), Germany (9.2 percent), the Netherlands (7.5 percent), and China (6.9 percent). Direct imports from the United States were 1.6 percent of total imports. Major import categories were inputs to industry (22.5 percent), household consumption (21.0 percent), fuels (14.5 percent), and machinery and capital equipment (10.7 percent).
The Faroe Islands’ small, open, but non-diversified economy makes it vulnerable to changes in international markets. The Faroe Islands have full autonomy to set tax rates and fees, and to set levels of spending on the services they provide. Denmark provides an annual block grant indexed to Danish inflation. In 2021 it was $103.4 million (DKK 650.7 million).
COVID-19 reached the Faroe Islands in March 2020. The Faroese government quickly instituted short-term measures, similar to Denmark’s, to contain the infection. The Faroes were virus-free by July 2020, and experienced brief upticks throughout 2020 and 2021, though without the need for major shutdowns. The virus returned in earnest in late 2021, culminating in January – February 2022, but without putting the hospital system under pressure. On February 28, 2022, the government lifted all remaining COVID-19 restrictions.
The global economic downturn in the wake of COVID-19 and long-term uncertainty lowered worldwide demand and fish prices, the Faroes’ main export. Some fisheries used their existing supply chains to convert a large portion of their sales from restaurant customers to retail trade customers. At the same time, corporate investment appetite has remained intact, as corporations were well consolidated before the virus outbreak. This has helped mitigate some of the negative economic impact of the pandemic. Labor market compensation schemes further supported the economy. By September 2020, the government phased out its wage cost compensation scheme and employment and unemployment levels were roughly back to their pre-pandemic levels. The pandemic acutely impacted the tourism sector, but this sector makes up only a small portion of the Faroese economy.
Official statistics list 2020 as the most recent year available for GDP figures, at $3.4 billion (DKK 21.2 billion). According to Statistics Faroe Islands, nominal GDP rose 8.7 percent in 2016 followed by growth of 3.7 percent in 2017, 2.3 percent in 2018, and 7.9 percent in 2019. GDP contracted by 2.8 percent in 2020 mainly due to COVID-19 and related price effects on fish prices. According to the Danish Central Bank, the strongest underlying drivers for recent years’ growth are substantial price increases for farmed salmon and larger catches of mackerel and herring in particular, combined with considerable productivity gains. Activity has been concentrated in fewer farms and shipping companies, both in aquaculture and in the pelagic fisheries, making these industries more profitable. These factors have boosted incomes and led to higher private and public sector demand. Employment has risen notably, and the labor market participation rate is high, which has pushed down unemployment from 7 percent in 2011 to 0.9 percent in 2021. The need for labor has increasingly been met via high net immigration, which has prolonged the economic upswing. According to the Danish Central Bank, all industries are experiencing labor shortages. The many new inhabitants, however, have put the housing market under pressure, especially in and around the capital Tórshavn.
Construction of the tunnels to the islands Eysturoy and Sandoy, with an expected cost of approximately $420 million (DKK 2.64 billion) or 16 percent of GDP, are proceeding as planned. The Eysturoy tunnel opened for traffic on December 19, 2020, and the Sandoy tunnel is set to open in December 2023.
In the longer term, the aging Faroese population will weaken the sustainability of public finances, according to the Economic Council for the Faroe Islands. The Council suggests that in order to maintain the high level of service to citizens established over many years, the Faroese government must prioritize this issue in due course. Currently, there are four people of working age (16 to 66), for every person aged 67 or older. By 2050, the Council estimates there to be 2.1 persons for every dependent retiree. The Council estimates that a permanent fiscal improvement of 5 percent of GDP will be required to stabilize government debt, which is currently at a low level. On August 6, 2021, credit agency Moody’s maintained its Aa2 long-term issuer rating of the Government of the Faroe Islands. The Aa2 rating is the third-highest rating on Moody’s 21-tier scale. The outlook remains stable and Moody’s concludes that the Faroe Islands has a healthy degree of financial independence, a low level of refinancing risk, and that, despite a state budget deficit in 2020 and 2021 caused primarily by the COVID-19 pandemic, the debt-to-income ratio will most likely return to healthy levels in the coming years. Moody’s assesses the stable and historical relationship with Denmark as an additional strength.
The Faroe Islands opened its own securities exchange in 2000; active trading of shares followed in 2005. The exchange is a collaboration with the VMF Icelandic exchange on the Nasdaq OMX Nordic Exchange Iceland.
Foreign Direct Investment into the Faroe Islands totaled $22.2 million (DKK 139.4 million) in 2019, and outward FDI was $699 million (DKK 4.4 billion). The Faroese government has indicated an interest in attracting further foreign investment. “Invest in the Faroes” is the Faroese government unit promoting Faroese trade. The website is http://www.government.fo .
The Faroe Islands have over the years engaged in several disputes with the EU over fishing quotas, so far culminating with the EU adopting measures that allowed it to impose sanctions on the Faroe Islands in 2012. In March 2013, the Faroe Islands unilaterally increased its quota for herring and mackerel. EU member states responded by voting in favor of imposing sanctions, which went into force in August 2013. The EU lifted sanctions in 2014 after reaching a political understanding with the Faroe Islands on herring catches. Subsequently, the Faroe Islands and the other coastal states in the North Atlantic signed a five-year agreement on mackerel quotas, reducing uncertainty for fisheries and improving profitability since the agreement allows for more sustainable harvesting. The Faroe Islands negotiates reciprocal exchanges of fishing opportunities with the EU, Norway, and the United Kingdom annually.
The Government of the Faroe Islands retains control over most internal affairs, including the conservation and management of living marine resources within the 200 nautical mile fisheries zone, natural resources, financial regulation and supervision, and transport. Denmark continues to exercise control over foreign affairs, security, and defense, in consultation with the Faroese government.
The labor force comprised 31,968 people in 2021, of which 664 were unemployed. In many areas, the Faroese labor market model resembles other Nordic countries, with high standards of living, well-established welfare schemes, and independent labor unions. Most people in the Faroe Islands are bilingual or multilingual, with Danish and English being the most widely spoken languages after Faroese. The Islands boast well-developed physical and telecommunications infrastructure and have well-established political, legal, and social structures. The standard of living for the population of 53,664 (which exceeded 50,000 for the first time in May 2017) is high by world standards, with Gross National Disposable Income per capita similar to that of Denmark.
Contact for more information on the Faroe Islands:
U.S. Embassy Denmark
Dag Hammarskjölds Alle, 242100 Copenhagen, Denmark
The Greenlandic government is actively pursuing foreign investment to diversify the economy, advance climate goals, and increase trade.
Greenland is a self-governing area within the Kingdom of Denmark, yet it is not an EU member. Greenland originally joined the EU with Denmark in 1973 but left in 1985 and is today one of the EU’s Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs).
Two-thirds of Greenland lies above the Arctic Circle, and its northern tip is less than 500 miles from the North Pole. Greenland can be reached by air from Denmark or Iceland. There are currently no direct commercial flights to or from the United States. With approximately 60 kilometers of road in the whole territory, people and goods are transported either by air or by sea.
Greenland’s GDP was estimated at $3.19 billion (DKK 20.19 billion) in 2020. Denmark’s annual block grant to Greenland equals approximately 20 percent of GDP.
The preponderance of jobs is in the public sector or with Government of Greenland-owned enterprises that comprise the telecommunication, power, and transportation sectors. Fishing is Greenland’s single most important commercial industry, accounting for 93 percent of exports. The sector is dominated by two companies, the Government of Greenland-owned Royal Greenland and the privately-owned Polar Seafood. The government is promoting the development of tourism and the extractive minerals sector, as well as hydropower projects. Greenland has large deposits of critical minerals and rare earth elements. Greenland owns and has disposal rights over all mineral resources, including oil and gas resources. The Greenlandic government announced in July 2021 its decision to cease issuing licenses for hydrocarbon exploration.
Greenland’s status within the Kingdom of Denmark is outlined in the Self Rule Act (SRA) of 2009, which details the Greenlandic government’s right to assume a number of additional responsibilities from the Danish government, including the administration of justice, business and labor, aviation, immigration and border control, and financial regulation and supervision. Before 2009, Greenland had already acquired control over taxation, fisheries, internal labor negotiations, natural resources, and oversight of offshore labor, environment, and safety regulations. Denmark continues to have control over the Realm’s foreign affairs, security, and defense policy, in consultation with Greenland and the Faroe Islands. Denmark also retains authority over border control issues, including immigration into Greenland. The annual block grant Denmark provides to Greenland is indexed to inflation and accounts for about half of the Greenlandic government’s revenue. In 2021, this grant was $636 million (DKK 4.0 billion).
The Greenlandic government seeks to increase economic growth and government revenues by promoting the further development of fisheries, extractive resources, energy production, and tourism while periodically trimming the public sector through privatization of enterprises currently owned by the government. Key initiatives include improving access to and localizing financing for new businesses and enhancing Greenland’s corporate tax competitiveness. Over the past decade, rising prices for fish and shellfish, the predominant Greenlandic exports, have generated solid earnings for large parts of the fisheries sector, though they were negatively impacted by COVID-19 border closures in China. The Greenlandic government directed state-owned enterprises to stop trading with Russia in February 2022 and announced the government’s intent to join EU sanctions against Russia. The Greenlandic parliament adopted legislation in May 2022 providing the framework for the government to impose sanctions against Russia.
To meet anticipated demand, the Government of Greenland has extensive plans to improve infrastructure. The capital Nuuk (population 19,000) is growing in large part through economic migration from within the country. The government is expanding the airport to accommodate direct international flights, has a multilingual workforce, an active shipping and cruise port, and additional planned investments in roads, housing, and port expansion. The government is improving access to Greenland’s primary tourist destination Ilulissat (population 4,670) through an airport expansion. Both airport expansions in Nuuk and Ilulissat are expected to be completed in 2024. Additionally, the Government of Greenland is planning a new airport in Qaqortoq, the municipal seat of South Greenland, with plans for additional infrastructure improvements as well. Lastly Sisimiut, the second-largest town (population 5,600) in Greenland, is home to Greenland’s northernmost port that remains ice free year-round. Private partnerships are underway to expand adventure tourism from the shoreline to the polar ice cap and to increase access to the area’s UNESCO World Heritage Site. Other efforts to develop tourism include increases in hotel capacity, a reduction in passenger tax for cruise ships, and a focus on promoting foreign language education to create a more multilingual workforce. The government is calling for stricter safety requirements for navigation in Greenlandic waters.
Greenland offers world-class deposits of rare earths and critical minerals. In the mineral extractives sector, two smaller mines (ruby and anorthosite) are in production. The government granted a company an exploitation license to restart a gold mine in southern Greenland. The Dundas ilmenite project is actively being developed, while an Australia-based company is working to develop one of the world’s largest zinc deposits located in northeast Greenland. Two small Australia-based companies are vying to extract rare earth elements in South Greenland. The resources in both of these projects are globally significant; each would rank in the top five worldwide if they were developed. One of the projects, Kringlerne, received an exploitation license in late 2020. The developer of the Kvanefjeld project has requested arbitration proceedings in its dispute with the Government of Greenland and the Government of the Kingdom of Denmark following Greenland’s passage of a law in November 2021 banning mining of minerals containing more than 100 parts per million (ppm) of uranium, a limit which exploitation of the rare earth elements in Kvanefjeld would exceed.
Greenlandic Economic Outlook
Greenland weathered the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic better than most other countries. While most parts of the world reported a sharp decline in activity in 2020, Greenland experienced positive growth of nearly 1 percent that year. In recent years there has been strong economic growth, mainly driven by large catches and high prices of fish and shellfish, but also supported by consumption, investments, and the resource extraction industry. The Greenlandic Economic Council (GEC) – an independent advisory council – estimated that real GDP grew on average by 2.4 percent annually from 2014 to 2018. The GEC expects growth to reach 1.8 percent for 2021 and 2.5 percent for 2022. A strong economy in recent years has led to labor shortages, both geographically and by sector, especially in connection with large construction projects. The GEC estimated unemployment declined from about 10 percent in 2014 to a projected 4.1 percent in 2021. Currently, 70 percent of all available jobs are in the capital Nuuk, and 90 percent of all available jobs are in just three locations: Nuuk (in which a third of the population resides), Sisimiut, and Pituffik (Thule Air Base).
Greenland’s remote geographical location and the ability to effectively mitigate the risk of infection through travel restrictions reduced the need for lockdowns and restrictions with their attendant adverse economic consequences. The tourism and travel industries bore the brunt of the negative impacts of the pandemic, as lockdowns and travel restrictions in other countries effectively wiped out the 2020 and 2021 tourism seasons in Greenland, but the industry is expecting a sharp upturn in 2022. Following two years of no port calls by the cruise industry, cruise ship reservations for 2022 are the highest numbers Greenland has seen.
The Greenland parliament (“Inatsisartut”) and the Government of Greenland (“Naalakkersuisut”) adopted a Budget Act in 2016, which mandates the budget not be in deficit over four contiguous years. The public budget had run surpluses since 2015, but the COVID pandemic forced a deficit of $21.4 million (DKK 135 million) in 2020, significantly below the initial estimates, and the 2020–2023 budget barely upheld the Budget Law requirement. The government projects a deficit of $12.1 million (DKK 76 million) in 2022. The Government of Greenland adopted a number of financial support measures, which increased public expenditures in 2020 and 2021 for health care, social benefits, and emergency aviation, while fisheries taxes fell. Public consumption in Greenland was 44.7 percent of GDP in 2020, compared to 24.7 percent in Denmark.
The Budget Act is currently under revision and the new revised act will come into force in 2023 with adjustments but in line with the basic concept. The government and government-owned enterprises had a gross debt of approximately 20 percent of GDP in 2020, and the debt is projected to increase from $636 million (DKK 4 billion) in 2020 to $1.1 billion (DKK 7.2 billion) in 2024. The GEC reported initially in 2017 that “projections for the public finances show a major sustainability problem.” The GEC has reaffirmed that finding in subsequent reports, including their latest report from the fall of 2021 in which it projected the fiscal sustainability problem to amount to -5.4 percent of GDP up to 2050. The GEC has warned about the effects of increasing public expenditures as larger portions of the population age into retirement, resulting in fewer wage earners in the labor market. The GEC has also noted that a realistic plan to close the gap between expected expenditures and revenues could require the Greenlandic government to cut social spending, raise the retirement age, and increase vocational education and training. For Greenland to become a more self-sufficient economy, the GEC asserted that the extractive and tourism sectors would need further development. The GEC noted that Greenland has not sufficiently addressed its sustainability challenges and estimated that the public budget would need to be reinforced by $159 million (DKK 1 billion) annually by 2040 to accommodate the aging population.
The vast majority of Greenlandic exports and imports pass through Denmark to and from the rest of the world but are reported as trade between the two. Greenland imports goods from all over the world, primarily through Denmark, and to a lesser extent, via Iceland. Some 93 percent of Greenlandic exports, measured in local currency, are fish products, with the remainder being mainly raw materials and machinery. Royal Greenland and Polar Seafood are the two main seafood exporters. Royal Greenland’s largest country market is China, and one-third of its revenues are generated in Asia, half in Europe, and 10 percent in North America, which the company views as a growth market. After experiencing major losses of exports to China in 2020 due to tightened import restrictions in China as a reaction to COVID-19, Royal Greenland has sought diversification in markets and products to spread risk. Polar Seafood has its main markets in Scandinavia, China, and Japan.
Due to its vast geographic expanse, Greenland’s physical and telecommunications infrastructure is less interconnected and developed than in other parts of the Kingdom of Denmark. Greenland’s government-owned telecommunications company predominantly uses Ericsson equipment and announced that it would continue to do so for future upgrades, including 5G.
Establishing a Company in Greenland
Danish business (CVR) registration through indberet.virk.dk is required to conduct business in Greenland. Furthermore, companies planning to have employees must register as an employer with the employer register Sulinal: https://sulinal.nanoq.gl . In July 2018, an updated Companies Act entered into force that opened new ways of establishing a company, e.g., with reduced share capital requirements with the possibility of partial payment of the share capital, and the possibility of establishing entrepreneur companies with a share capital of $0.16 (DKK 1). Foreign companies may start their businesses in Greenland either through a subsidiary (both ApS and A/S type companies) or via a registered branch office.
ApS and A/S
An ApS (private limited company) or A/S (public limited company) is a separate legal entity with limited liability for its shareholders. The main difference between a private (ApS) and a public (A/S) limited company is that the shares of a private limited company cannot be issued publicly. Therefore, an ApS cannot be subject to listing or otherwise issue shares to the public to secure more capital. In addition, there are a few differences concerning capital and management requirements. Under the Companies Act, the minimum share capital requirement for an ApS is $6,350 (DKK 40,000). The minimum share capital requirement for an A/S is $63,500 (DKK 400,000). However, under the Danish Companies Act, it is possible to incorporate an A/S and only pay 25 percent of this amount (i.e., $15,875 (DKK 100,000)), leaving the company with a receivable on the shareholders for the outstanding amount (i.e., $47,625 (DKK 300,000)). A founder of a company may be foreign or Greenlandic individuals or corporate entities. Both ApS and A/S companies can be registered via the Danish Business Authority’s (DBA) online system. No registration fees are required.
Registered Branch Office
A foreign company may typically establish a registered branch office in Greenland instead of establishing a Greenlandic company. A branch of a foreign company may be created through an application with the DBA. Companies within the EU and European Economic Area (EEA) may set up a branch in Greenland and Denmark without further approval from the DBA. However, companies outside of the EU/EEA must obtain approval before registering.
A foreign company can do business in Greenland in a consecutive or non-consecutive 90-day period over 12 months without being required to register as a business.
The Greenlandic tax system is based on flat-rate taxation of business profits for both resident and non-resident corporations. Greenland operates with a net income principle, where the taxable income is calculated as a total net amount after deductions. The net income principle means that all income is treated equally, regardless of whether the income comes from employment, self-employment, investment income, or pensions, etc. As the rules of taxation for businesses can be complicated, potential investors may seek to retain guidance from the Greenlandic Tax Agency ( www.aka.gl ) or professional consultants.
Greenland has double taxation agreements with Denmark, the Faroe Islands, Iceland, Norway, Canada, the United States, Cayman Islands, Isle of Man, Bermuda, Jersey, and Guernsey. Greenland signed a Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) agreement with the United States.
The corporate income tax rate is 25 percent (down from 30 percent in 2019); an additional surcharge of 6 percent of the tax payable brings the total corporate tax rate to 26.5 percent.
The taxation of royalty payments is 30 percent. Greenland has no value-added tax (VAT) system, property tax, sales tax, or similar taxes. There are, however, some payable duties, such as taxes for cruise liners, ports duties, etc. There are four types of depreciation in the Greenlandic tax law. Buildings can be depreciated 5 percent annually. Ships, planes, and hydrocarbon prospecting can be depreciated 10 percent annually. Mineral licenses can be depreciated 25 percent each year for four years, and operating equipment can be depreciated at a rate of 30 percent annually. Assets with a cost of less than $15,875 (DKK 100,000) may be depreciated in the year of acquisition.
Greenlandic permanent establishments of foreign companies are taxed under the same rules and rates as Greenlandic resident companies. There is no branch profits remittance tax or other similar tax on branch profits. If a foreign company has more than one location or permanent establishment in Greenland, these are treated as separate taxable entities with no possibility of consolidation.
The Greenlandic labor force was 26,978 persons in 2020. Average unemployment for 2020 was 5.3 percent – lower than the OECD average of 7.2 percent, and a decrease from 10.3 percent in 2014. Unemployment has decreased significantly, especially in Nuuk. According to the most recent report by Statistics Greenland, 49.2 percent of the Greenlandic workforce in 2019 had an education beyond municipal primary and lower secondary school. Of the workforce, 27.4 percent had vocational education, while 15.6 percent had a tertiary education. Among the unemployed, 84 percent have no education beyond municipal primary and lower secondary school.
In December 2012, Greenland passed legislation known as the “Large Scale Act,” which allows companies to use foreign labor during the construction phase of development when project costs exceed $795 million (DKK 5 billion) and workforce requirements exceed the local labor supply. The Act is intended for potential mining or infrastructure projects in Greenland. The Act lays out the framework for politically negotiated Impact Benefit Agreements (IBA) for the Government of Greenland and the employer to agree on the exact conditions of employment for foreign labor. The scale of Greenlandic labor utilized will be negotiated for each project and will vary depending on local capacity and the negotiated agreement for each project.
Foreign workers enjoy the same legal protections as Greenlandic workers, including the same $16 (DKK 100.47) per hour minimum wage and retention of the right to strike.
In 2021, Greenland implemented the Fast Track Scheme. This arrangement allows businesses in industries facing labor shortages to hire foreign workers who can begin working before they are approved for a work permit.
Investment in Natural Resources
Greenland possesses sizable discovered and undiscovered mineral resource potential. Some deposits are among the largest in the world. The country’s resources include iron and ferroalloys (iron, nickel, molybdenum, tungsten, and others), base metals (copper, zinc, and lead), specialty metals (rare earth elements, uranium, niobium, tantalum, and others), precious metals (platinum, gold, and others) and gemstones (diamonds, rubies, and sapphires). Mining industry experts anticipate that Greenland’s retreating ice will make the island’s rich stores of raw materials more easily accessible. However, exploration and exploitation projects will still face higher costs because of remote locations, lack of infrastructure, harsh climate, and distance to world markets. In 2021 the government implemented a limit of 100 ppm for uranium collocated with these deposits and granted the government authority to ban or limit mineral resource extraction for other types of radioactive elements.
With the 2009 SRA, Greenland gained rights to its mineral and hydrocarbon resources, and it acquired the regulatory authority over these on January 1, 2010. The SRA also created a revenue mechanism: if Greenland’s natural resources’ exploitation becomes commercially viable, Greenland will keep the first $11.92 million (DKK 75 million) in annual revenues derived from these resources. Additional revenues will be split equally between the Danish and Greenlandic governments. Denmark’s share will be transferred by deducting the equivalent amount from the annual block grant to Greenland of $636 million (DKK 4.0 billion). Once the block grant’s total value is reached, any additional revenue will be subject to negotiations between the Danish and Greenlandic governments. In 2021, the Greenlandic government determined it would no longer permit hydrocarbon exploration.
Most of Greenland’s identified rare earth deposits are licensed by the Mineral License and Safety Authority, and some have reached advanced stages of exploration. In 2021, Greenland dropped significantly in the Canadian Fraser Institute’s Investment Attractiveness Index from 41st out of 77 jurisdictions to 61st of 84 jurisdictions. The survey highlights the ban on exploration and production of uranium, political instability, and the lack of qualified officials as creating uncertainty for investors.
Greenland General Business Information
Information about the Greenlandic government can be found at http://naalakkersuisut.gl/en . Information from the Greenlandic government on natural resource exploration and extraction can be found at http://www.govmin.gl . Information about doing business in Greenland can be found at https://www.businessingreenland.gl/en . Statistics on Greenland can be found at http://www.stat.gl/default.asp?lang=en .
By law, private property can only be expropriated for public purposes in areas where the Greenlandic government has the competencies, in a non-discriminatory manner, and with reasonable compensation. There have been no recent expropriations of significance in Greenland.
In Greenland it is not possible to acquire private ownership of land, but a right of use may be sold for an area, i.e. if you buy property, you own the building, not the land on which it sits.
There have been no significant disputes over foreign investment in Greenland in recent years, however, in March 2022, Australia-based Greenland Minerals requested arbitration in its dispute with the Governments of Greenland and the Kingdom of Denmark over the future of its Kvanefjeld rare earths project. While it is common that disputes are settled in Greenlandic courts, the Danish Supreme Court remains the highest appeals court for disputes in Greenland. If a dispute is very specialized and within the purview of the Danish Administration of Justice Act, the parties involved can choose the Danish Maritime and Commercial Court as a court of first instance.
While Greenland’s democratic institutions and legal framework in general are strong, there have been some concerns about legislation being passed by parliament without significant hearing processes and public input.
Contact for more information on Greenland
Political and Economic Specialist
U.S. Consulate Nuuk, Greenland