Full text: Iceland 1930

According to the Act of Union belween Iceland and Denmark, a 
Danish subject may establish a permanent business in Iceland and yet 
reside in Denmark, whereas this is not allowed to the citizens of other 
States, unless they are domiciled in Iceland, in which case their busi- 
nesses are looked upon as native concerns. In 1855 more than one-half 
(or 32) of the business houses in Iceland were foreign, i. e. owned 
by persons residing in Denmark, while in 1927 they were but 15, or 
1'2 per cent. of the total number of concerns. A comparatively few 
foreigners have settled in Iceland for the purpose of carrying on busi- 
ness there. 
At first the Icelanders engaged only in retail business, while the 
purchase of goods abroad as well as the sale of Icelandic products 
in foreign markets were in the hands of alien (mostly Danish) whole- 
sale dealers and commission agents; but of late years, especially dur- 
ing and after the Great War, this branch is in an ever increasing 
degree being taken charge of by native Icelanders. In 1912 there were 
but 15 wholesale dealers and commission agents in Iceland; in 1927 
their number had risen to 64. 
A great deal of business is done by the Consumers’ Cooperative 
Stores (kaupfélég) which began to be formed here in the eighties, 
and are most widely disseminated among the rural population, though 
a few have latterly been established by the working classes in the towns. 
These societies handle the purchase of foreign goods and the sale 
of farm produce for the members. In 1917 the cooperative stores 
organized themselves into a Union of Cooperative Associations with a 
head office in Reykjavik, where they carry on a wholesale import and 
export business for the majority of the cooperative societies in the 
country. In 1928 the Union embraced 39 cooperative concerns with a 
membership numbering 7400 and a total turnover of 14 million krénur 
(imports worth 51/2 millions; exports worth 812 millions). 
During the latter stages of the Great War, when, owing to the world 
conditions, trade became difficult, the State undertook for its own 
account the purchase in the foreign market of some of the more 
indispensable necessaries, which where then sold to merchants and 
cooperative stores alike. This resulted in the Government Stores or 
Landsverzlun, which during the last years of its existence traded only 
in tobacco and petroleum. The State monopoly of tobacco and petro- 
eum, established in 1922 and 1923 respectively and placed under the 
Landsverzlun, ceased on the 31st af December 1925, from which date 
only petroleum was sold bv the State in competition with other firms.

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