Iceland is located in the Atlantic Ocean, near the Arctic Circle, between Greenland and Norway. Contrary to what the name suggests “ice” only covers about 10% of the land. Active volcanoes, bright green valleys, glacier-cut creeks, black sand beaches and
Foreign policy and relations
A global advocate for liberalization of international trade, Iceland takes a clear position on a nature-friendly, pollution-free and climate change sensitized approach of doing business. Iceland collaborates on principles of respect for human rights and peaceful resolution of disputes.
Economic and free trade agreements highlight Iceland’s economic security-oriented relations with the world. Its bilateral free trade agreements have resulted in enhanced relations with the USA, Mexico and, more recently, with China. Iceland’s green economy expertise in renewable energy, hydro and geothermal power furthers economic, security and development relations with Asian countries, including China and India. Iceland also partners
with three sub-Saharan countries: Malawi, Mozambique and Uganda in fisheries, education and health.
Iceland’s clean energy, its marine resources, strong infrastructure and well-educated workforce, provide a firm basis to overcome the economic difficulties and implement necessary reforms. The GDP in 2011 was recorded at USD 13.98 billion: 59% exports, 51% imports. A per capita GDP of USD 43,800 was recorded in the same year.
Iceland’s privatization drive has allowed the government to focus on the key enabling areas of renewable energy, health, education and social welfare. The export base is relatively narrow and largely based on such natural resources as fisheries, energy-intensive industries and tourism, These industries are predominantly occupied by small and medium-sized businesses.
Iceland is amongst global leaders in sectors like geothermal energy, fisheries, and IT/Gaming supported by an educated population and low corporate tax rate. Iceland offers a wide variety of business opportunities in data centers, energy dependent industries, food production and other industries. A large number of overseas investors have located businesses and established new plants in Iceland.. The country offers a very attractive package for new investment, including reduced 20% taxation and long-term energy contracts for cost-effective clean energy.
Icelanders enjoy comprehensive educational, health and social security coverage from the state. Education is free and there is no tuition fee. Almost all Icelanders attend the state-run quality educational institutes. Thus Iceland enjoys universal-literacy and a vibrant literary society. Icelanders are also termed the happiest people in the world, attributable to comprehensive healthcare coverage and one of the highest per capita income economies. Iceland is also termed as the best place in the world for women to live due to its very high ratings in gender equality. Women form a major and integral part of the social, economic and political fabric and enjoy equal rights.
‘Think Reykjavik – Think family time’ sets the tone for tourism in Iceland. In 2013, nearly a million tourists visited Iceland which has quickly become the tourism destination of preference for family and eco-tourists. A fine blend of modernism and nature, the capital city of Reykjavik presents a postcard depiction of tourist attractions. The acceptance of Schengen Visa has also made Iceland a must stopover for European tourists. The family friendly natural hot springs, views of the magical northern lights, a breathtaking landscape and adventurous inlands are compelling attractions.