A number of amendments have been made in the Trade Act, which came into force on 1 January 2016. The purpose of the amendments is to ease the establishment of operating activities on the Greenlandic market to make it more attractive to establish new as well as international business activities in Greenland.

In light of this, the rules of the Trade Act have been simplified significantly with fewer requirements providing more favourable rules as regards the establishment, which will make it easier for entrepreneurs to sell their products and to attract foreign investments.

In some cases, the rules previously in force had a restrictive influence on the attraction of new capital and business in Greenland, for instance in connection with short-term construction projects, new establishments etc.

The amendments of the Trade Act are as follows:

1.  The scope of the Trade Act has been restricted, which entails that it only applies to retailing of products.

2.  Foreign persons' and companies' establishment of activities in Greenland:

  • Natural persons:
    The rules previously in force required that natural persons had to be Danish nationals or hold a valid residence and work permit in Greenland and residence in Greenland in order to carry on trade. These requirements have now been abolished.

    However, it is important to note that the requirements for a valid residence and work permit remain unchanged under immigration legislation.

    For more information on the new procedure concerning employment of foreign labour, see below.

  • Legal persons:
    The rules previously in force required that the company was to have its registered office in Greenland, and that the majority of the management had to live in Greenland. It has been assessed that general rules restricting foreign companies' and their branches' trade in Greenland are no longer required.

    In the future, special formal requirements concerning establishment are therefore only regulated by the special legislation.

3. The Trade Act's general requirements.

  • Permanent place of business:
    The previous requirement that sales should generally take place from a permanent place of business is abolished. This opens up new possibilities for clearance sale and "home parties", i.e. arrangements presenting and selling products at private homes, work places, sports clubs etc. 

    However, the general rules in the Act on certain consumer contracts and the Trade Act concerning marketing and labelling still apply. Furthermore, the Trade Act now contains a general requirement entailing that the seller must always clearly display the GER no., name and address, and a requirement for electronic contact data in connection with Internet sale.

  • Additional special legislation:
    Special legislation still applies to certain trades, including fishing, sealing, activities related to exploration and exploitation, exploitation of water power, passenger transport and taxi etc.

  • Registration in the GER:
    The requirement for registration in the GER (The Greenland Register of Enterprises and Establishments) still applies under the Greenland Landsting Act, irrespective of the amendments in the Trade Act.

Amendments are also under way as to the employment procedure of external labour.

Irrespective of the amendments in the Trade Act, special rules still apply under the Greenland Landsting Act concerning regulation of the inflow of labour in Greenland according to which the employer previously had to obtain approval from the municipal council when employing external labour.

The Government of Greenland has established a job portal www.suli.gl under the Act on employment service. In addition to job advertisements and a CV database, the portal will for instance contain a module for external labour advertisements. From 1 April 2016, the consideration of an application for external labour will require that the employer has published the advertisement on the job portal and submitted the application via suli.gl. Until 1 April 2016, applications are to be submitted according to the present procedure.

If you have questions regarding the amendments, please contact attorney Helen Kibsgaard.


Søren Hornbæk Svendsen