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flag Iceland Iceland: Selling and Buying

In this page: Market Access Procedures | Reaching the Consumers | Distributing a Product | Organizing Goods Transport | Identifying a Supplier


Market Access Procedures

Main International Economic Cooperation
Iceland is a member of the European Economic Area (EEA) Agreement.

The country has signed a large number of multilateral and bilateral agreements.

Non Tariff Barriers
Iceland enjoys some of the strongest economic freedoms among all countries. Nevertheless, Iceland is very protectionist as regards to the import of farm products and licenses as well as state monopolies of imports (undergoing a dismantling). Some plant products such as potatoes and flowers are subject to seasonal limitations.
Customs Duties and Taxes on Imports
Iceland implements high tariffs on agricultural products in order to protect the domestic agricultural sector. Tariffs on certain varieties of vegetables, e.g. tomatoes, cucumbers and bell peppers are significantly higher during the growing season to protect domestic greenhouse producers. Meat and dairy products, and potatoes are also protected by substantial duties. Animal feed can carry tariffs up to 55%.
Visit the Directorate of Customs website.

Customs Classification
Iceland applies the Harmonized Customs System of codification and description of the goods. Customs duties are calculated ad valorem (and apply only to farm products of EU member countries). There is no exchange control on the settlement of imported goods. The customs policy is enforced by the Directorate of Customs.
Import Procedures
Required documents are listed below:

- Bill of lading

- Certificate of origin

- Cargo release order

- Commercial invoice

- Customs import declaration

- Packing list

Importing Samples
Samples may be imported without paying any tax if their value is not high, and they cannot be sold or used. However, samples must be declared at Customs on arrival in the country. To import samples, you must fill in an ATA carnet, a document that facilitates Customs procedures.
For Further Information
The directorate of Customs

Learn more about Traders, Agents in Iceland on, the Directory for International Trade Service Providers.

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Reaching the Consumers

Marketing Opportunities

Consumer Behavior
Icelanders have a high purchasing power. But, because of the financial crisis, Icelanders' behavior might change a lot in the next year. We already see some changes in Icelanders behavior: they started buying less. But, usually, Icelanders shop in supermarkets.
Consumer Profile and Purchasing Power
Icelanders are generally well educated, with sophisticated tastes and a liking for American consumer goods. The Icelandic lifestyle is similar in many ways to that in the U.S.
Consumers Associations
NS , National consumers association
Main Advertising Agencies
Federation of the 7 largest agencies in Iceland

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Distributing a Product

Market Shares
Hagar, the biggest retailer is an Icelandic corporation of Baugur Group. Hagar also owns retailer and wholesale companies in Iceland, Sweden and Denmark.
Organizations in the Retail Sector
Federation of trade and services

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Organizing Goods Transport

Main Useful Means of Transport
Coastal sea travel is reserved only for transportation of goods and even so, it is giving way to transportation by trucks. Transportation of goods got almost completely off the sea and on the roads when Iceland's shipping companies quit their scheduled cargo-ship transportation around Iceland from Reykjavik and emphasized on truck transportation of goods.
Ports of Iceland
Keflavik International Airport
Sea Transport Organizations
Icelandic Maritime Administration
Air Transport Organizations
Icelandic civil aviation administration
Road Transport Organizations
Icelandic Road Administration

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Identifying a Supplier

Type of Production
The main sectors of Icelandic industry are its natural resources: fishing, hydraulic and geothermal energy. The IT and new technologies sector has also experienced strong development over the last few years. Industry employs more than 21% of the population.

Business Directories

Multi-sector Directories
Iceland Export - Iceland's trade directory.
Icelandic Export - Business directory of Icelandic exporters.
Manufacturers Associations of the Main Industries
8 professional associations listed for Iceland.
Trade Agencies and Their Representations Abroad
Iceland Chamber of Commerce
Enterprises Federation
The Federation of Icelandic Industries
SA-Confederation of Icelandic Employers
Federation of Trade & Services

Learn more about Service Providers in Iceland on, the Directory for International Trade Service Providers.

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Last Updates: February 2015