| 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.
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
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.
There are many large hotels in Reykjavík
equipped for conferences and business meetings, while smaller conferences
may be held at venues outside the capital.
Chamber of Commerce
Address: House of Commerce, 7th floor, Kringlan 7, 103 Reykjavík.
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