Liechtenstein is primarily known as a banking center and as a »tax haven«. In fact, Liechtenstein is one of the highly industrialized countries in the world. The principality has been closely linked to Switzerland through a currency and customs union since 1923. In contrast to its neighboring country, Liechtenstein has also been a member of the European Economic Area (EEA) since 1995 and is thus integrated into the European internal market. Most of the employees work in the service sector (62.3%), 36.9% in the industrial sector and 0.8% in the agricultural sector. The gross national income (GNI) is (2015) 134,000 Swiss francs (CHF) per resident.
Foreign trade: Because of the tightness of the domestic market, the vast majority of industrial production is exported. In 2016 (excluding trade with Switzerland) there were imports worth CHF 1.98 billion and exports worth CHF 3.35 billion. The main customer countries are Germany, the USA, France and Austria; The main supplier countries are Germany, Austria, China, Italy and the USA.
According to smber, agriculture, which only contributes 0.8% to the gross domestic product (GDP), was the country’s main livelihood until the Second World War. The agricultural cultivated area takes up about 33% of the land area, of which 60% is grassland and 40% arable and garden land. The main focus is on cattle breeding with dairy farming. Mainly grain, potatoes and oilseeds are grown. Fields and meadows are mainly located on the alluvial fans of the mountain foot zone. Vineyards and orchards are planted in lower, sunnier locations. Alpine pastures follow in higher elevations.
The revenue of the state budget from payments by holding companies and banks had fallen sharply after adjustment to OECD standards with regard to the transparency of tax data. With a full profit distribution, the tax rate for companies is around 20%. This low corporate taxation and the geographical proximity to the Swiss financial center have resulted in numerous “letterbox companies” being located in Liechtenstein.
Tourism: In tourism, day visitors predominate (2015: 49,200 foreign visitors and 91,500 overnight stays). In addition to the capital Vaduz, the Malbun winter sports area is becoming increasingly important.
Apart from water, solar and wind power, Liechtenstein has no usable raw materials and energy sources. A large part of the electricity demand has to be imported from Switzerland; Coal, heating oil, natural gas and gasoline are 100% imported.
The majority of the industrial workforce is active in the manufacture of electrical and electronic devices as well as in mechanical engineering and vehicle construction. The manufacturing sector also includes operations in the optical, chemical, ceramic and pharmaceutical as well as the food industry.
The road network consists of around 120 km of country roads and over 260 km of municipal roads. A 750 m long tunnel has made the Samina valley (since 1959 also Malbun) accessible for vehicle traffic, even in winter, since 1947. The only railway line is the Arlberg Express from Feldkirch in Austria via Schaan to Buchs in Switzerland, which crosses the principality over a length of 9.5 km. The closest international airport is Zurich.