Economics

Top Imports of Greenland

Given its status as a sparsely-population island, it is no surprise that Greenland must import many of its goods.

Greenland’s economy consists of a big public sector and a comprehensive trade resulting in a period of strong economic growth. The island country has heavily depended on capital flow from Denmark, especially the skilled labor force. The economy is dependent on fishing and import products, particularly those from countries of the European Union. In 2015, Greenland's import value amounted to $644 million making it the 178th largest importer in the world. The country’s imports have decreased at an annualized rate of -6.5% over the last five years from $918 million in 2010. The low import value against a higher export value ($732 Million) resulted in a positive trade balance of over $87 million.

Major Imports in Greenland

Refined petroleum was Greenland’s top import product in 2015 with a share of 11% of all imports or an import value of $73.4 million. Sweden was the largest supplier of refined petroleum to Greenland accounting for 65% of the total import. Greenland also imported petroleum from Iceland, Norway, and Denmark.

Aircraft parts were the second highest imports during the same period with a share of 2.9% or an import value of $18.5 million. Greenland spent over $8 million to import aircraft parts from Canada, accounting for 48% of the import value on the product. It also imported aircraft parts from the United States, the Netherlands, Germany, France, and the United Kingdom.

Because of lack of pharmaceutical industries in Greenland, the country depends largely on the import of packaged medicaments. In 2015, Greenland spent $17.2 million on packaged medicaments, accounting for 2.7% of all imports. Denmark was the largest supplier of packaged medicament to Greenland accounting for 99% of the import. The medicaments included drugs, anesthesia, and drips.

Fishing is an important economic activity and is the major source of income in Greenland with the country investing heavily in the fishing industry to improve productivity. Greenland is home to the largest retailer of cold-water shrimp in the world, the Royal Greenland. However, the country is in need of more fishing ships to meet the growing demands. In 2015, Greenland imported $15 million worth of fishing ship with Iceland and Norway as the largest supplier. The two countries accounted for 51% and 43% of the imported fishing ships. About 5% of the ships were also imported from Denmark.

Cars are also among the top five major exports to Greenland with the country spending $11.7 million to import the cars in 2015. The cars accounted for 1.7% of all the imports into the country. The largest supplier of cars to Greenland was Germany (60% of all car imports) followed by Denmark (12%) and the United States (8%).

Greenland’s Major Import Partners

In 2015, the most important import partner of Greenland was Denmark with a share of 63% of all import products or $408 million of import value. Greenland’s proximity and its dependence to Denmark contributed to the largest import share. Almost all the major goods imported by Greenland were from Denmark including refined petroleum and fishing ships. Sweden was the second most important import partner with a share of 8.8% or $57 million of import value. Greenland’s imports from Sweden included refined petroleum and excavating machinery. Other major import partners included Iceland (5.5%), Germany (3.7%), Canada (2.7%), China (2.6%), and Norway (2.3%).

Top Imports of Greenland

RankImport NameValue (USD Millions)
1Refined Petroleum73.4
2Aircraft parts18.5
3Packaged Medicaments17.2
4Fishing ships15
5Cars11.2

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