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Liechtenstein



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Introduction

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.

Geography

Location: Central Europe, between Austria and Switzerland

Geographic coordinates: 47 10 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 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.)

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-Sulphur 85, Air Pollution-Sulphur 94, Air Pollution-Volatile Organic Compounds, Biodiversity, Climate Change, 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

Population: 32,207 (July 2000 est.)

Age structure
  0-14 years: 18% (male 2,970; female 2,988)
  15-64 years: 71% (male 11,379; female 11,370)
  65 years and over: 11% (male 1,393; female 2,107) (2000 est.)

Population growth rate: 1.02% (2000 est.)

Birth rate: 11.83 births/1,000 population (2000 est.)

Death rate: 6.64 deaths/1,000 population (2000 est.)

Net migration rate: 5.03 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2000 est.)

Sex ratio
  at birth: 1.04 male(s)/female
  under 15 years: 0.99 male(s)/female
  15-64 years: 1 male(s)/female
  65 years and over: 0.66 male(s)/female
  total population: 0.96 male(s)/female (2000 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 5.07 deaths/1,000 live births (2000 est.)

Life expectancy at birth
  total population: 78.81 years
  male: 75.16 years
  female: 82.47 years (2000 est.)

Total fertility rate: 1.49 children born/woman (2000 est.)

Nationality
  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

Literacy
  definition: age 10 and over can read and write
  total population: 100%
  male: 100%
  female: 100% (1981 est.)

Government

Country name
  conventional long form: Principality of Liechtenstein
  conventional short form: Liechtenstein
  local long form: Fuerstentum Liechtenstein
  local short form: Liechtenstein

Data code: LS

Government type: hereditary constitutional monarchy

Capital: Vaduz

Administrative divisions: 11 communes (Gemeinden, singular - Gemeinde); Balzers, Eschen, Gamprin, Mauren, Planken, Ruggell, Schaan, Schellenberg, Triesen, Triesenberg, Vaduz

Independence: 23 January 1719 Imperial Principality of Liechtenstein established; 12 July 1806 established 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: 20 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 von und zu Liechtenstein, son of the monarch (born 11 June 1968)
  head of government: Head of Government Mario FRICK (since 15 December 1993) and Deputy Head of Government Michael RITTER (since 2 February 1997)
  cabinet: Cabinet elected by the Diet; confirmed by the monarch
  elections: none; the monarch is hereditary; following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party in the Diet is usually appointed the head of government by the monarch and the leader of the largest minority party in the Diet is usually appointed the deputy head of government by the monarch

Legislative branch: unicameral Diet or Landtag (25 seats; members are elected by direct popular vote under proportional representation to serve four-year terms)
  elections: last held on 2 February 1997 (next to be held by NA 2001)
  election results: percent of vote by party - VU 50.1%, FBPL 41.3%, FL 8.5%; seats by party - VU 13, FBPL 10, FL 2

Judicial branch: Supreme Court or Oberster Gerichtshof; Superior Court or Obergericht

Political parties and leaders: Fatherland Union or VU [Dr. Oswald KRANZ]; Progressive Citizens' Party or FBPL [Norbert SEEGER]; The Free List or FL [Christel HILTI, Hansjorg HILTI, Helen MARXER, Hugo RISCH, Margrit WILLE]

International organization participation: CE, EBRD, ECE, EFTA, IAEA, ICRM, IFRCS, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, ITU, OPCW, OSCE, PCA, UN, UNCTAD, UPU, WCL, WIPO, WTrO

Diplomatic representation in the US: Liechtenstein does not have an embassy in the US, but is represented by the Swiss embassy in routine diplomatic matters

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

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 about 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 - real growth rate: NA%

GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $23,000 (1998 est.)

GDP - composition by sector
  agriculture: NA%
  industry: NA%
  services: NA%

Population below poverty line: NA%

Household income or consumption by percentage share
  lowest 10%: NA%
  highest 10%: NA%

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)

Budget
  revenues: $424.2 million
  expenditures: $414.1 million, including capital expenditures of $NA (1998 est.)

Industries: electronics, metal manufacturing, textiles, ceramics, pharmaceuticals, food products, precision instruments, tourism

Industrial production growth rate: NA%

Electricity - production: 150 million kWh (1995)

Electricity - production by source
  fossil fuel: NA%
  hydro: NA%
  nuclear: NA%
  other: NA%

Electricity - consumption: NA kWh

Electricity - exports: NA kWh

Electricity - imports: NA kWh

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: 1 Swiss franc, franken, or franco (SFR) = 100 centimes, rappen, or centesimi

Exchange rates: Swiss francs, franken, or franchi (SFR) per US$1 - 1.5878 (January 2000), 1.5022 (1999), 1.4498 (1998), 1.4513 (1997), 1.2360 (1996), 1.1825 (1995)

Fiscal year: calendar year

Communications

Telephones - main lines in use: 19,000 (1995)

Telephones - mobile cellular: NA

Telephone system: automatic telephone system
  domestic: NA
  international: 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 Service Providers (ISPs): 115 (Liechtenstein and Switzerland) (1999)

Transportation

Railways
  total: 18.5 km; note - owned, operated, and included in statistics of Austrian Federal Railways
  standard gauge: 18.5 km 1.435-m gauge (electrified)

Highways
  total: 250 km
  paved: 250 km
  unpaved: 0 km

Ports and harbors: none

Airports: none

Military

Military - note: defense is the responsibility of Switzerland

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international: claims 1,600 sq km of land in the Czech Republic confiscated from its royal family in 1918; the Czech Republic insists that restitution does not go back before February 1948, when the communists seized power

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Site Version 1.75 - Last updated December 20, 2006

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