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Background: The Principality of Liechtenstein was established within the Holy Roman Empire in 1719; it became a sovereign state in 1806. Until the end of World War I, it was closely tied to Austria, but the economic devastation caused by that conflict forced Liechtenstein to conclude a customs and monetary union with Switzerland. Since World War II (in which Liechtenstein remained neutral) the country’s low taxes have spurred outstanding economic growth. However, shortcomings in banking regulatory oversight have resulted in concerns about the use of the financial institutions for money laundering.
Government type: hereditary constitutional monarchy
Capital: Vaduz
Currency: 1 Swiss franc, franken, or franco (SFR) = 100 centimes, rappen, or centesimi

Geography of Liechtenstein

Location: Central Europe, between Austria and Switzerland
Geographic coordinates: 47 10 N, 9 32 E
total: 160 sq km
land: 160 sq km
water: 0 sq km
Land boundaries:
total: 76 km
border countries: Austria 35 km, Switzerland 41 km
Coastline: 0 km (landlocked)
Maritime claims: none (landlocked)
Climate: continental; cold, cloudy winters with frequent snow or rain; cool to moderately warm, cloudy, humid summers
Terrain: mostly mountainous (Alps) with Rhine Valley in western third
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Ruggeller Riet 430 m
highest point: Grauspitz 2,599 m
Natural resources: hydroelectric potential, arable land
Land use:
arable land: 24%
permanent crops: 0%
permanent pastures: 16%
forests and woodland: 35%
other: 25% (1993 est.)
Environment – international agreements:
party to:  Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution-Sulphur 85, Air Pollution-Sulphur 94, Air Pollution-Volatile Organic Compounds, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Ozone Layer Protection, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified:  Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Law of the Sea
Geography – note: along with Uzbekistan, one of only two doubly landlocked countries in the world; variety of microclimatic variations based on elevation

People of Liechtenstein

Population: 33,717 (July 2005 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years:  18.41%
15-64 years:  70.6%
65 years and over:  10.99%
Population growth rate: 0.98%
Birth rate: 11.53 births/1,000 population 
Death rate: 6.7 deaths/1,000 population 
Net migration rate: 4.98 migrant(s)/1,000 population 
Infant mortality rate: 4.99 deaths/1,000 live births 
Life expectancy at birth:
total population:  78.95 years
male:  75.32 years
female:  82.6 years 
Total fertility rate: 1.5 children born/woman 
noun: Liechtensteiner(s)
adjective: Liechtenstein
Ethnic groups: Alemannic 87.5%, Italian, Turkish, and other 12.5%
Religions: Roman Catholic 80%, Protestant 7.4%, unknown 7.7%, other 4.9% (1996)
Languages: German (official), Alemannic dialect
definition: age 10 and over can read and write
total population: 100%
male: 100%
female: 100% (1981 est.)

Liechtenstein Economy

Economy – overview: Despite its small size and limited natural resources, Liechtenstein has developed into a prosperous, highly industrialized, free-enterprise economy with a vital financial service sector and living standards on a par with the urban areas of its large European neighbors. Low business taxes – the maximum tax rate is 18% – and easy incorporation rules have induced 73,700 holding or so-called letter box companies to establish nominal offices in Liechtenstein, providing 30% of state revenues. The country participates in a customs union with Switzerland and uses the Swiss franc as its national currency. It imports more than 90% of its energy requirements. Liechtenstein has been a member of the European Economic Area (an organization serving as a bridge between European Free Trade Association (EFTA) and EU) since May 1995. The government is working to harmonize its economic policies with those of an integrated Europe.

GDP: purchasing power parity – $730 million (1998 est.)
GDP – per capita: purchasing power parity – $23,000 (1998 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices): 0.5% (1997 est.)
Labor force: 22,891 of which 13,847 are foreigners; 8,231 commute from Austria and Switzerland to work each day
Labor force – by occupation: industry, trade, and building 45%, services 53%, agriculture, fishing, forestry, and horticulture 2% (1997 est.)
Unemployment rate: 1.8% (February 1999)
revenues: $424.2 million
expenditures: $414.1 million (1998 est.)
Industries: electronics, metal manufacturing, textiles, ceramics, pharmaceuticals, food products, precision instruments, tourism
Electricity – production: 150 million kWh (1995)
Agriculture – products: wheat, barley, corn, potatoes; livestock, dairy products
Exports: $2.47 billion (1996)
Exports – commodities: small specialty machinery, dental products, stamps, hardware, pottery
Exports – partners: EU and EFTA countries 60.57% (Switzerland 15.7%) (1995)
Imports: $917.3 million (1996)
Imports – commodities: machinery, metal goods, textiles, foodstuffs, motor vehicles
Imports – partners: EU countries, Switzerland (1996)
Debt – external: $0 (1996)
Economic aid – recipient: none
Currency: Swiss franc (CHF)

Map of Liechtenstein