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Liechtenstein Economy
 
 
 

General

Despite its limited natural resources, Liechtenstein is one of the few countries in the world with more registered companies than citizens; it has developed into a prosperous, highly industrialised, free-enterprise economy and boasts a financial service sector as well as a living standard which compares favourably to those of the urban areas of Liechtenstein's large European neighbours. Relatively low business taxes – the maximum tax rate is 18% – as well as easy Rules of Incorporation have induced about 73,700 holding ('letter box') companies to establish nominal offices in Liechtenstein. Such processes provide about 30% of Liechtenstein's state revenue. Liechtenstein also generates revenue from the establishment of stiftungs (foundations), which are financial entities created to increase the privacy of non-resident foreigners' financial holdings. The foundation is registered in the name of a Liechtensteiner, often a lawyer.

Recently, Liechtenstein has shown strong determination to prosecute any international money-laundering and worked to promote the country's image as a legitimate financing center. In February 2008, the country's LGT Bank was implicated in a tax-fraud scandal in Germany, which strained the ruling family's relationship with the German government. Crown Prince Alois has accused the German government of trafficking in stolen goods for its US$7.3 million purchase of private banking information illegally offered by a former employee of LGT Group.

Liechtenstein participates in a customs union with Switzerland and employs the Swiss franc as national currency. The country imports more than 90% of its energy requirements. Liechtenstein has been a member of the European Economic Area (an organisation serving as a bridge between the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) and the European Union) since May 1995 . The government is working to harmonize its economic policies with those of an integrated Europe. Since 2002, Liechtenstein's rate of unemployment has doubled, although it stood at only 2.2% in the third quarter of 2004. The GDP (PPP) is US$1.786 billion, or US$25,000 per person.

Liechtenstein's most recognisable international company and largest employer is Hilti, a manufacturer of concrete fastening systems. Liechtenstein also is the home of the Curta calculator and the principality produces a large portion of the world's false teeth.

Overview

Economy - overview :
The Liechtenstein economy is widely diversified with a large number of small businesses. 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 organisation serving as a bridge between the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) and the EU) since May 1995. The government is working to harmonise its economic policies with those of an integrated Europe.

GDP (purchasing power parity) :
$1.786 billion (2001 est.)

GDP (official exchange rate) :
$36.33 billion (2007 est.)

GDP - real growth rate :
11% (1999 est.)


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