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Liechtenstein[Country flag of Liechtenstein]
[Country map of Liechtenstein]

Introduction Liechtenstein
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 enter into 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. Shortcomings in banking regulatory oversight have resulted in concerns about the use of the financial institutions for money laundering. Liechtenstein has, however, implemented new anti-money-laundering legislation and recently concluded a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty with the US.
Geography Liechtenstein
Location:
Central Europe, between Austria and Switzerland
Geographic coordinates:
47 16 N, 9 32 E
Map references:
Europe
Area:
total: 160 sq km
land: 160 sq km
water: 0 sq km
Area - comparative:
about 0.9 times the size of Washington, DC
Land boundaries:
total: 76 km
border countries: Austria 34.9 km, Switzerland 41.1 km
Coastline:
0 km (doubly 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: 25%
permanent crops: 0%
other: 75% (2001)
Irrigated land:
NA sq km
Natural hazards:
NA
Environment - current issues:
NA
Environment - international agreements:
party to: Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants, Air Pollution-Sulfur 85, Air Pollution-Sulfur 94, Air Pollution-Volatile Organic Compounds, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Ozone Layer Protection, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: 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 Liechtenstein
Population:
33,717 (July 2005 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 17.6% (male 2,938/female 3,009)
15-64 years: 70.4% (male 11,795/female 11,927)
65 years and over: 12% (male 1,685/female 2,363) (2005 est.)
Median age:
total: 39.22 years
male: 38.74 years
female: 39.68 years (2005 est.)
Population growth rate:
0.82% (2005 est.)
Birth rate:
10.41 births/1,000 population (2005 est.)
Death rate:
7.06 deaths/1,000 population (2005 est.)
Net migration rate:
4.8 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2005 est.)
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.01 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 0.98 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.99 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.71 male(s)/female
total population: 0.95 male(s)/female (2005 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
total: 4.7 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 6.34 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 3.05 deaths/1,000 live births (2005 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 79.55 years
male: 75.96 years
female: 83.16 years (2005 est.)
Total fertility rate:
1.51 children born/woman (2005 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
NA%
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
NA
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
NA
Nationality:
noun: Liechtensteiner(s)
adjective: Liechtenstein
Ethnic groups:
Alemannic 86%, Italian, Turkish, and other 14%
Religions:
Roman Catholic 76.2%, Protestant 7%, unknown 10.6%, other 6.2% (June 2002)
Languages:
German (official), Alemannic dialect
Literacy:
definition: age 10 and over can read and write
total population: 100%
male: 100%
female: 100%
Government Liechtenstein
Country name:
conventional long form: Principality of Liechtenstein
conventional short form: Liechtenstein
local long form: Fuerstentum Liechtenstein
local short form: Liechtenstein
Government type:
hereditary constitutional monarchy on a democratic and parliamentary basis
Capital:
Vaduz
Administrative divisions:
11 communes (Gemeinden, singular - Gemeinde); Balzers, Eschen, Gamprin, Mauren, Planken, Ruggell, Schaan, Schellenberg, Triesen, Triesenberg, Vaduz
Independence:
23 January 1719 (Principality of Liechtenstein established); 12 July 1806 (independence from the Holy Roman Empire)
National holiday:
Assumption Day, 15 August
Constitution:
5 October 1921
Legal system:
local civil and penal codes; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction, with reservations
Suffrage:
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
chief of state: Prince HANS ADAM II (since 13 November 1989, assumed executive powers 26 August 1984); Heir Apparent Prince ALOIS, son of the monarch (born 11 June 1968); note - on 15 August 2004, HANS ADAM transferred the official duties of the ruling prince to ALOIS, but HANS ADAM retains status of chief of state
head of government: Head of Government Ottmar HASLER (since 5 April 2001) and Deputy Head of Government Rita KIEBER-BECK (since 5 April 2001)
cabinet: Cabinet elected by the parliament, confirmed by the monarch
elections: none; the monarch is hereditary; following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party in the Landtag is usually appointed the head of government by the monarch and the leader of the largest minority party in the Landtag is usually appointed the deputy head of government by the monarch
Legislative branch:
unicameral Parliament or Landtag (25 seats; members are elected by direct, popular vote under proportional representation to serve four-year terms)
elections: last held 11 and 13 March 2005 (next to be held by NA 2009)
election results: percent of vote by party - FBP 48.7%, VU 38.2%, FL 13%; seats by party - FBP 12, VU 10, FL 3
Judicial branch:
Supreme Court or Oberster Gerichtshof; Court of Appeal or Obergericht
Political parties and leaders:
Patriotic Union (was Fatherland Union) or VU [Heinz FROMMELT]; Progressive Citizens' Party or FBP [Johannes MATT]; The Free List or FL [Dr. Pepo FRICK, Elisabeth TELLENBACH-FRICK, Adolf RITTER]
Political pressure groups and leaders:
NA
International organization participation:
CE, EBRD, EFTA, IAEA, ICCt, ICRM, IFRCS, Interpol, IOC, ITU, OPCW, OSCE, PCA, UN, UNCTAD, UPU, WCL, WIPO, WTO
Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Claudia FRITSCHE
chancery: 1300 Eye Street NW, Suite 550W, Washington, DC 20005
telephone: [1] (202) 216-0460
FAX: [1] (202) 216-0459
Diplomatic representation from the US:
the US does not have an embassy in Liechtenstein, but the US Ambassador to Switzerland is also accredited to Liechtenstein
Flag description:
two equal horizontal bands of blue (top) and red with a gold crown on the hoist side of the blue band
Economy Liechtenstein
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 its large European neighbors. The Liechtenstein economy is widely diversified with a large number of small businesses. Low business taxes - the maximum tax rate is 20% - and easy incorporation rules have induced many 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 the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) and the EU) since May 1995. The government is working to harmonize its economic policies with those of an integrated Europe.
GDP (purchasing power parity):
$825 million (1999 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
11% (1999 est.)
GDP - per capita:
purchasing power parity - $25,000 (1999 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: NA%
industry: 40%
services: NA% (1999)
Labor force:
29,000 of whom 19,000 are foreigners; 13,000 commute from Austria, Switzerland, and Germany to work each day (31 December 2001)
Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture 1.3%, industry 47.4%, services 51.3% (31 December 2001 est.)
Unemployment rate:
1.3% (September 2002)
Population below poverty line:
NA
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
1% (2001)
Budget:
revenues: $424.2 million
expenditures: $414.1 million, including capital expenditures of NA (1998 est.)
Agriculture - products:
wheat, barley, corn, potatoes; livestock, dairy products
Industries:
electronics, metal manufacturing, dental products, ceramics, pharmaceuticals, food products, precision instruments, tourism, optical instruments
Industrial production growth rate:
NA%
Exports:
$2.47 billion (1996)
Exports - commodities:
small specialty machinery, connectors for audio and video, parts for motor vehicles, dental products, hardware, prepared foodstuffs, electronic equipment, optical products
Exports - partners:
EU 62.6% (Germany 24.3%, Austria 9.5%, France 8.9%, Italy 6.6%, UK 4.6%), US 18.9%, Switzerland 15.7%
Imports:
$917.3 million (1996)
Imports - commodities:
agricultural products, raw materials, machinery, metal goods, textiles, foodstuffs, motor vehicles
Imports - partners:
EU, Switzerland
Debt - external:
$0 (2001)
Economic aid - recipient:
none
Currency (code):
Swiss franc (CHF)
Currency code:
CHF
Exchange rates:
Swiss francs per US dollar - 1.2435 (2004), 1.3467 (2003), 1.5586 (2002), 1.6876 (2001), 1.6888 (2000)
Fiscal year:
calendar year
Communications Liechtenstein
Telephones - main lines in use:
19,900 (2002)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
11,400 (2002)
Telephone system:
general assessment: automatic telephone system
domestic: NA
international: country code - 423; linked to Swiss networks by cable and microwave radio relay
Radio broadcast stations:
AM 0, FM 4, shortwave 0 (1998)
Radios:
21,000 (1997)
Television broadcast stations:
NA (linked to Swiss networks) (1997)
Televisions:
12,000 (1997)
Internet country code:
.li
Internet hosts:
3,727 (2004)
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
44 (Liechtenstein and Switzerland) (2000)
Internet users:
20,000 (2002)
Transportation Liechtenstein
Highways:
total: 250 km
paved: 250 km
unpaved: 0 km
Waterways:
28 km (2004)
Pipelines:
gas 20 km (2004)
Ports and harbors:
none
Airports:
none (2004 est.)
Military Liechtenstein
Military - note:
defense is the responsibility of Switzerland
Transnational Issues Liechtenstein
Disputes - international:
in February 2005, the ICJ refused to rule on the restitution of Liechtenstein's land and property assets in the Czech Republic confiscated in 1945 as German property
Illicit drugs:
has strengthened money-laundering controls, but money laundering remains a concern due to Liechtenstein sophisticated offshore financial services sector

This page was last updated on 1 November, 2005


 

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