Iceland - Country Commercial Guide
Market Challenges
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Iceland’s adoption of EU product standards and regulations, such as food product labeling and a requirement for products to bear the CE marking (the European Conformity or CE marking is an administrative marking that indicates conformity with health, safety, and environmental protection standards for products sold within the EEA) can be considered a barrier for U.S. companies wanting to export to Iceland.  Even though Iceland is not in the EU, Iceland’s membership in the EEA means that there are generally no exemptions to these rules.

There are high tariffs on most agricultural products originating from outside of the EU.  There are also restrictions on importing raw or fresh agricultural products originating from outside of the EU.  Meat, for example, needs to be frozen for thirty days prior to entering the country from non-EU countries.

The domestic market is small, with less than half a million inhabitants occupying the island.  Tourism is a major industry in Iceland, however, increasing the number of consumers and opportunities in the market.  Private consumption is high in Iceland, with most households having two incomes.

Logistics can be costly and time-consuming given the distance between Iceland and either the United States or continental Europe.  Air freight is reliable and readily available, but expensive.  Sea freight is available and cheaper, but it is less frequently available directly to and from the United States.  Icelandic logistics company Eimskip sails a ship once per week to Portland, Maine.  There are, however, two logistics companies that offer more frequent sea freight services between Iceland and Europe (connecting to Rotterdam, Hull, Aarhus, Bremerhaven, Aalborg, Torshavn, and Immingham), providing an alternate route for U.S. exports to Iceland.