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Industry Sectors in Iceland
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Industry Sectors in Iceland

Environmental purity and sustainable management policies give Iceland unique advantages as a supplier of raw materials to food processing industries where natural quality counts above all else. The Food sector accounts for half of the country's industrial production, one-fifth of its GDP and more than 80% of its merchandise exports – one of the highest levels in the world.

Iceland is one of the most advanced fish processing nations and a world leader in various areas of producing technology. The total catch by the Icelandic fleet was 2,0 million tonnes in 2003, placing Icelanders near the 12th place among fishing nations of the world with around 2% of world catches. Total value of marine product exports was ISK 113,000 million or 62% of total export of goods from Iceland.

Icelandic industry has grown over the last years and in 2003, the total value of exported goods from Iceland amounted for ISK 182,600 million. Of this export; Marine products constituted 113,693 million or 62,3%, manufacturing products constituted 61,835 million or 33,9%. Largest commodity export within marine products was cod and it was aluminium within manufacturing products.

This sector is one of the fastest growing sectors in Iceland. Turnover in medicinal and medical products has increased steadily over the years and in 2003, the total value of export of these products were ISK 13,500 million. Icelandic firms are now world leaders in prosthetic devices and important exporters of diagnostic technology and medical software.

The ICT sector has been a focal point for economic development in Iceland. Today, there are around 136 ICT companies, number of jobs is just under 5,000 and total export value is ISK 3,700 million. 95 companies out of 136 listed ICT companies in Iceland exported actively in 2003, of them 12 companies exported for more than ISK 100 million. 

Icelandic music, filming and design reflects the culture in Iceland. In recent years this sector has gained a higher growth and productivity making it into a valuable resource for Icelandic economy. The fascinating beauty of the natural world in Iceland is a primary source of inspiration for creative people in this country: film-makers, composers, and designers

Freedom in all business activities has increased dramatically in Iceland and in recent years the Icelandic economy has undergone significant transformations, largely caused by market liberalization. The Icelandic economy is service-oriented with two-thirds of the working population employed in the service sector.

Located midway between Europe and North America and highly dependent on both imports and exports, Iceland has developed extensive air and maritime services to handle its cargo and passenger transportation needs, and both harbour and airport capacity are being steadily increased.

Iceland is the only country in Western Europe that still has large resources of competitively priced hydroelectric power and geothermal energy remaining to be harnessed. Total economically viable electric power potential is now estimated at 50,000 GWh/year. About 8,490 GWh/year of this power had been harnessed in 2003, i.e. only about 17% of the total electrical energy potential.

Over the past decade, the number of travellers to Iceland has been growing steadily at an average annual rate of 6%. In 2004, travellers to Iceland increased to 362,200 from 320,000 the year before, or 13,2%. Currency earnings from foreign tourists were estimated at ISK 37,300 million, accounting for approximately 13% of the total foreign currency earnings.