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Iceland

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Iceland country brief

Key engagement

Australia and Iceland established diplomatic relations on 17 April 1984.

Australia and Iceland cooperate closely on human rights and gender equality issues. 

Outlook

The rapid growth in Australia and Iceland’s trade relationship has been driven by a steep increase in Australia's alumina exports to Iceland.

Bilateral relations

Australia and Iceland enjoy friendly relations. Australia and Iceland are likeminded partners, with shared values on peace and security, open markets, liberalised free trade and gender equality.

Foreign policy

Iceland is a member of numerous international organisations including the United Nations (UN), the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank, the World Trade Organization (WTO), the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the Arctic Council.

Iceland is not a member of the European Union (EU) but is a member of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) and the European Economic Area, which entitle it to access the EU internal market.

Iceland is deeply committed to human rights and gender equality. Iceland was elected to the UN Human Rights Council in July 2018 to serve as a member to 31 December 2019, to replace the vacancy left by the United States following its withdrawal. Australia and Iceland worked closely together on the Human Rights Council during overlapping terms in 2018-19.

Fast Facts

  • Icelandic visitors to Australia (Year ended June 2020) — 900
  • Australian resident returns to Iceland (Year ended June 2020) — 5,400
  • Resident Australian population born in Iceland (2016 census) — 485
  • Australian residents of Icelandic descent (2016 census) — 1,086
  • Icelandic student enrolments in Australia (2019) — 57

Australian Embassy in Copenhagen

The Australian Embassy in Copenhagen has diplomatic accreditation to Iceland.

Agreements and Arrangements with Iceland

Texts of bilateral agreements are available at the Australian Treaties Database.

Political Overview

Iceland is a parliamentary republic with legislative powers vested in the Althing (Parliament). The Althing is made up of 63 members directly elected by proportional representation for four-year terms.

Economic diplomacy

In 2019, Australia's total two-way merchandise trade with Iceland was worth $277 million. Australia’s merchandise exports to Iceland totalled $261 million. Merchandise imports from Iceland totalled $16 million.

Major Australian exports were vehicle parts and accessories; rubber articles; meat (excluding beef) f.c.f.; telecommunication equipment and parts; and perfumery and cosmetics.  

Imports from Iceland included manufactured articles; measuring and analysing instruments; metal containers; agriculture machinery and parts (excluding tractors) and animal oils and fats.

Total foreign investment between Australia and Iceland reached $31 million in 2019.

More economic and trade information can be found in the Iceland country fact sheet [PDF].

Travel

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