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Iceland
is a small island roughly the size of Kentucky and is home to roughly 334,252
people. It is located roughly 2,500 miles north east of Boston. It takes
approximately 5 and half hours to fly there. More than half the population live
in the capital area of Reykjavik. The official language is Icelandic, it is an
Indo-European language. English is seen as the international language of
Iceland and also is the second language learned in the country, with it
mandatory in public schools. There should be little to no language barriers
when communicating with this foreign investment opportunity. In an article from
Business Insider, on January 6, 2017 Iceland was named number 1 for the most
tolerant, progressive, and environmentally friendly countries in the world.

Icelandic’s
are a small community of people that pride themselves on trust.  They are very hard workers and is not uncommon
for them to work multiple jobs. They are direct, hold honesty to a high value, along with keeping your
word. They tend to leave big decisions to last minute and may be unsure about committing
to a big decision. Business meeting are normally concise and straight to the
point. When traveling internationally do not be surprised if you are asked to
visit their home for a business meeting.

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When first making contact they
often seem quite and reserved at first. Once you get to know they are very
friendly. Shaking hands is a standard way of greeting business partners. Iceland
is a classless society. What I mean by this is that Icelandic
companies lack the hierachies that is known throughout Europe and in North
America. You may be sitting down in a meeting with an assosciate only to have
the CEO come in and join in for a chat about the meeting. Most meetings
generally start with an exchange of business cards, than are straight to the
point. They are often done over coffee, or dinner. You may also be invited to
expierence something involving the country. Showing in interest in the country
is very respected.

When
asking about their names, they will normally answer with their first name. Iceland
forbids the use of surnames. There was a law passed in 1925 banning it. When
creating a name, they use primary patronymics. To create a name an Icelandic
would use the suffix (‘son’) for son and (‘dottir’) and added to the genitive
form of the father’s name. An example of this would be the name Helgi. The
genitive form would be Helga, for a son it would be Helgason and a daughter
would be Helgadóttir. This will be especially helpful in determing gender
without see the person in person.

Their
business styles are not ways of the United States. They are friendly and shy.
If you come across boasting about your achievements they might tend to look the
other way. Etiquette is similar to the United States. Be direct, shake hands,
with eye contact. Once in business together they tend to be more laid back.
Business often slows down in the autumn and winter due to the hour change.
During this period of time it is just about 24 hours of darkness.

The business culture is a mix of
personal and professional. With Iceland being a small country, people tend to
know each other and makes business friendly. Some of the first settlers in
Iceland were businessmen. Following old traditions Iceland continues to make
fair-trade and honoring agreements. They value honesty, indendence, friendship
and accountability. An oral agreement in Iceland is binding to the law.

Gender
equality is more in Iceland than in many other countries. In 1980 Iceland was
the first country in the world to have a nationally elected female president.
Also in 2009 the first female prime-minster was elected, she was also the world’s
first openly gay leader. The political system allows a woman interested to
pursue their interests in the parliament. There is are also women in the
clergy. Fishing in mostly dominated by men, but in the fish processing part it
is more dominated by women.

The
religious beliefs in Iceland dominantly are members of the Evangelical Lutheran
Church, which is about 80%.

While
this is a small country the labor force shows that its strong. According to
Global Road Warrior “The economy depends heavily on the fishing industry,
which provides 40% of merchandise export earnings, more than 12% of GDP, and
employs nearly 5% of the work force”. Unemployment rate in the Iceland is low.
In 2016 it was at 2.7%, and in country comparison to the world it is 19. They
are strong healthy workers.

The
economic system is a capitalist structure and also with free-market principals.
A capitalist structure is an economic structure which the goods are owned by
private individuals or the business. In Iceland the business is generally owned
by the people and not corporations. Free-market principals are principals that
are dictated by an open market and consumers. The services and prices are set
buy the supply and demand. The government and monopolies have no role. Iceland
is a highly export driven economy and is always looking for investments
opportunities from foreign countries.

According
to Global Warrior for the year 2016 Iceland’s imports was $5.024 billion, and
the exports were $4.6 billion. According the CIA (Central Intelligence Agency)
that in 2016 there was a 17.20% budget surplus, ranking at number 2 in the
world. Iceland’s
economy relies heavily on exports of, marine products. In addition, aluminium,
software, ferro-silicon alloys, woollen goods and fishing industry- related
products are important exports for Iceland’s economy. Iceland’s main trading
partners are the EU, EFTA, the USA and Japan. Competition Law No. 44/2205 is currently in place to
promote competition and to prevent unreasonable barriers on economic operations

Iceland is part of Europe but not part of the European Union or the EMU,
it has its own currency called the Icelandic króna. It is a member of the EEA
and is strongly connected with the EU for trade.

According
the World Trade Organization (WTO), Iceland has been a member of WTO since
January 1, 1995 and a member of General Agreements on Tariffs and Trade (GATT)
since April 21, 1968. There are currently no trade barriers that would stop the
import of the Cod into the United States. The international trade between
Iceland and the United States is strong. The Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) is
recognized because the country strives on imports and is always looking for
investors. They currently have a website dedicated to foreign investment into
Iceland.

Iceland
is part of Organization for Economic Cooperation’s and European Economic Area
(EEA) but not part of the European Union (EU). The law that oversees foreign investment
for non-residents of the EEA is the 1996 Act on Investment. What is does is
grants treatment to non-residents of the EEA. It dictates that foreign
ownership of businesses is generally unrestricted, except for the limits
currently imposed in the fishing, energy, and aviation sectors. Only entities
with at least 51 percent Icelandic ownership can hold fishing rights. Non-EEA
residents cannot hold hydro- and geothermal power harnessing rights; cannot manufacture
or distribute energy; and cannot own more than 49 percent of aviation
companies.

There
is no screening process for foreign investors. When it comes to mergers and acquisitions
the Icelandic government looks a little bit more carefully at them. They have
the authority to annul mergers or set certain standards with conditions to
prevent monopolies and limit competition

The
government type is parliamentary republic. A parliamentary republic is a
type of government that has many layers. There are elections every 4 years for
the President, local authorities, and members of the Althinigi (parliament). The legal system is a civil law
system. It includes a constitution

The Althing which has 63 members,
elected for a maximum period of four years. Elections are also held every four
years for the presidency, with no term limit. The original Althing was
established by Vikings in 930 A.D. making it the world’s first parliamentary
democracy.

The
corruption rate in Iceland is low. According to transparency.org, a coalition
that is against global corruption, states that in 2016 Iceland was number 14
out of the 176 countries. Its highlight was the connection between corruption
and inequality. There are no military forces in Iceland as well.

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