homeIceland travel guide > Iceland business
Iceland guide
Traveler café 
Travel directory
Last updated : Nov 2009
Iceland Business
Iceland Business Overview - TravelPuppy.com
Gross Domestic Products: ISK 806,439 million (the 2003 estimate) .

The Main imports: Machinery and equipment, foodstuffs, petroleum products and textiles.

The Main exports: Fish, fish products, animal products, aluminium, ferrosilicon and diatomite.

The Main trade partners: United Kingdom, Germany, Denmark, France, Sweden, United States of America, Japan and Norway.


Icelanders benefit from a per capita income that is amongst the highest in the world at US $38,620. Iceland is short of original raw materials and thus relies heavily on foreign trade to keep its relatively successful economy ticking over. Exports of goods and services account for more than 1 3rd of GNP. The largest proportion of these derives from fisheries and related products such as oil and fishmeal. The economy is thus particularly vulnerable to fluctuating world prices in this commodity and maintains a broad fisheries exclusion zone (320 kilometres / 200 miles) to protect its earnings. As several European governments (including the British) have discovered to their cost, the Icelanders are fiercely determined and quite capable of defending their perceived territorial rights.

Other sources of revenue come from the sale of minerals such as ferrosilicon, aluminium, cement and nitrates used in fertilisers, although these have lately been affected by low demand. Light industry produces blankets, knitwear, textiles and paint. There is a growing advanced technology sector involved in software and biotechnology, and an embryonic financial services industry. After a period of high inflation and recession in the 1980's and 1990's, Iceland entered a positive economic period, economic growth in 2003 was at 4 % and unemployment at 4 % in the 2nd quarter of 2004. Tourism is now a huge earner, with recent estimates showing that whale watching alone contributes £12 million to the economy per year.

Accession to the European Economic Area (an amalgam of the EU and the European Free Trade Association, Iceland belongs to the European Free Trade Association) effected a wholesale liberalisation of trade among the member states and caused some disruption to the Icelandic economy. This highlighted the fact that Iceland’s economy is too reliant on its fishing industry and needs to diversify in areas that will allow it to compete in international markets.


Business people in Iceland are expected to dress smartly. Local business people are conservative however very friendly and most speak English. Previous appointments are not commonly necessary, but visits between May and September should be planned in advance as many local business people travel abroad at this time. The telephone directory in Iceland is listed by Christian name.

General office hours are Monday to Friday 8.00 am to 4.00 pm (summer) and 9.00 am to 5.00 pm (winter). Most offices are closed on Saturdays and Sundays.

Commercial Information

There are many large hotels in Reykjavík equipped for conferences and business meetings, while smaller conferences may be held at venues outside the capital.

Iceland Chamber of Commerce

Address: House of Commerce, 7th floor, Kringlan 7, 103 Reykjavík. Iceland
Telephone: 510 7100.
Website address: www.chamber.is

Iceland Convention & Incentive Bureau (Information on Conferences/Conventions)

Address: Laekjargata 3, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland
Telephone: 562 6070.
Website address: www.icelandconvention.com