Icelanders have been reluctant to permit substantial foreign investment; nearly all such investment is limited to participation in joint ventures in which Icelandic interests hold a majority share. There is only one wholly foreign-owned industrial facility in the country, a Swiss aluminum-processing facility. Two others, a ferro-silicon and a diatomite plant, have foreign equity participation. From the beginning of 1993, Icelanders have been free to invest abroad.
For the period 1988 to 1990, Iceland's share in world foreign direct investment (FDI) inflow was only 30% of its share in world GDP. For the period 1998 to 2000, its share of world FDI inflows was 40% of its share of world GDP, a marginal improvement. Except for a fall to $66 million in 1998, yearly FDI inflows to Iceland have in the range of $146 million (2001) to $158 million (2000).