Background Notes: New Zealand, October 1998
Released by the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs
U.S. Department of State

OFFICIAL NAME:  New Zealand

PROFILE

Geography

Area: 270,534 sq. km. (104,440 sq. mi.); about the size of 
Colorado. 
Cities: (1997) Capital--Wellington (345,000). Other cities--
Auckland (1,057,000), Christchurch (337,000), Hamilton (164,000). 
Terrain: Highly varied, from snow-capped mountains to lowland 
plains. 
Climate: Temperate to subtropical. 

People

Nationality: Noun--New Zealander(s). Adjective--New Zealand. 
Population (1997): est. 3.7 million. 
Annual growth rate: (1997) 1.1%. 
Ethnic groups: European 75%, Maori 14.5%, other Polynesian 5.6%. 
Religions: Anglican 22%, Presbyterian 16%, Roman Catholic 15%. 
Languages: English, Maori. 
Education: Years compulsory--ages 6-16. Attendance--100%. 
Literacy--99%. 
Health: (1996) Infant mortality rate--7.3/1,000. Life expectancy 
(1996)--males 73 yrs., females 79 yrs. 
Work force (1996) 1.6 million: Services and government--59%. 
Industry and commerce--30.7%. Agriculture and mining--9.7%. 

Government

Type: Parliamentary. 
Constitution: No formal, written constitution. 
Independence: Declared a dominion in 1907.
Branches: Executive--Queen Elizabeth II (chief of state, 
represented by a governor general), prime minister (head of 
government), cabinet. Legislative--unicameral House of 
Representatives, commonly called parliament. Judicial--three-
level system: District Courts, the High Court, and the Court of 
Appeals, with further appeal possible to the Judicial Committee 
of the Privy Council. There are also specialized courts, such as 
employment court,  family courts, youth courts, and the Maori 
Land Court.
Administrative subdivisions: 12 regions with directly elected 
councils and 74 districts (15 of which are designated as cities) 
with elected councils. There are also a number of community 
boards and special-purpose bodies with partially elected, 
partially appointed memberships.
Political parties: National, Labour, the Alliance, New Zealand 
First, ACT, United New Zealand and several smaller parties not 
represented in Parliament. 
Suffrage: Universal at 18.

Economy

GDP: (1997) U.S. $64.4 billion.
Real annual GDP growth rate: (1997) 2.3%. 
Per capita income: (1997) U.S. $15,505. 
Natural resources: Natural gas, iron sand, coal, timber.
Agriculture (9.7% of GDP): Products--wool, meat, dairy products, 
forestry products. 
Industry (46.1% of GDP): Types--food processing, textiles, 
machinery, transport equipment, fish, forestry products.
Trade (1996): Exports--$12 billion: meat, dairy products, 
manufactured products, forest products, fish, fruit and 
vegetables, wool. Major markets--Australia, Japan, U.S., U.K. 
Imports--$21.3 billion: machinery, manufactured goods, 
transportation equipment, chemicals, mineral fuels. Major 
suppliers--Australia, U.S., Japan, U.K.

PEOPLE

Most of the 3.7 million New Zealanders are of British origin. 
About 14% claim descent from the indigenous Maori population, 
which is of Polynesian origin.  Nearly 75% of the people, 
including a large majority of the of the Maoris, live on the 
North Island. In addition, 167,000 Pacific Islanders also live in 
New Zealand.

During the late 1870s, natural increase permanently replaced 
immigration as the chief contributor to population growth and has 
accounted for more than 75% of population growth in the 20th 
century. Nearly 85% of New Zealand's population lives in urban 
areas, where the service and manufacturing industries are growing 
rapidly.

HISTORY

Archaeological evidence indicates that New Zealand was populated 
by fishing and hunting people of East Polynesian ancestry perhaps 
1,000 years before Europeans arrived. Known to some scholars as 
the Moa-hunters, they may have merged with later waves of 
Polynesians who, according to Maori tradition, arrived between 
952 and 1150. Some of the Maoris called their new homeland 
"Aotearoa," usually translated as "land of the long white cloud."

In 1642, Abel Tasman, a Dutch navigator, made the first recorded 
European sighting of New Zealand and sketched sections of the two 
main islands' west coasts. English Captain James Cook thoroughly 
explored the coastline during three South Pacific voyages 
beginning in 1769. In the late 18th and early 19th centuries, 
lumbering, seal hunting, and whaling attracted a few European 
settlers to New Zealand. In 1840, the United Kingdom established 
British sovereignty through the Treaty of Waitangi signed that 
year with Maori chiefs.

In the same year, selected groups from the U.K. began the 
colonization process. Expanding European settlement led to 
conflict with Maoris, most notably in the Maori land wars of the 
1860s. British and colonial forces eventually overcame determined 
Maori resistance. During this period, many Maoris died from 
disease and warfare, much of it intertribal.

Constitutional government began to develop in the 1850s. In 1867, 
Maoris won the right to a certain number of  reserved seats in 
parliament. During this period, the livestock industry began to 
expand, and the foundations of New Zealand's modern economy took 
shape. By the end of the 19th century, improved transportation 
facilities made possible a great overseas trade in wool, meat, 
and dairy products.

By the 1890s, parliamentary government along democratic lines was 
well established, and New Zealand's social institutions assumed 
their present form. Women received the right to vote in national 
elections in 1893. The turn of the century brought sweeping 
social reforms that built the foundation for New Zealand's 
version of the welfare state.

Maoris gradually recovered from population decline and, through 
interaction and intermarriage with settlers and missionaries, 
adopted much of European culture. In recent decades, Maoris have 
become increasingly urbanized and have become more politically 
active and culturally assertive. 

New Zealand was declared a dominion by a royal proclamation in 
1907. It achieved full internal and external autonomy by the 
Statute of Westminster Adoption Act in 1947, although this merely 
formalized a situation that had existed for many years.

GOVERNMENT

New Zealand has a parliamentary system of government closely 
patterned on that of the United Kingdom and is a fully 
independent member of the Commonwealth.  It has no written 
constitution.

Executive authority is vested in a cabinet led by the prime 
minister, who is the leader of the political party or coalition 
of parties holding the majority of seats in parliament. All 
cabinet ministers must be members of parliament and are 
collectively responsible to it.

The unicameral parliament (House of Representatives) has 120 
seats, five of which currently are reserved for Maoris elected on 
a separate Maori roll. However, Maoris also may run for, and have 
been elected to, non-reserved seats.  Parliaments are elected for 
a maximum term of three years, although elections can be called 
sooner.

The judiciary consists of the Court of Appeals, the High Court, 
and the District Courts.  New Zealand law has three principal 
sources--English common law, certain statutes of the U.K. 
Parliament enacted before 1947, and statutes of the New Zealand 
Parliament. In interpreting common law, the courts have been 
concerned with preserving uniformity with common law as 
interpreted in the United Kingdom.  This uniformity is ensured  
by the maintenance of the Privy Council in London as the final 
court of appeal and by judges' practice of following British 
decisions, even though, technically, they are not bound by them.

Local government in New Zealand has only the powers conferred 
upon it by parliament. The country's 12 regional councils are 
directly elected, set their own tax rates, and have a chairman 
elected by their members. Regional council responsibilities 
include environmental management, regional aspects of civil 
defense, and transportation planning. The 74 "territorial 
authorities"--15 city councils, 58 district councils in rural 
areas, and one county council for the Chatham Islands--are 
directly elected, raise local taxes at rates they themselves set, 
and are headed by popularly elected mayors. The territorial 
authorities may delegate powers to local community boards.  These 
boards, instituted at the behest either local citizens or 
territorial authorities, advocate community views but cannot levy 
taxes, appoint staff, or own property.

Principal Government Officials

Chief of State--Queen Elizabeth II
Governor General--His Excellency Sir Michael Hardie Boys
Prime Minister--Jenny Shipley
Ambassador to the United States--James Bolger
Ambassador to the United Nations--Michael Powles

New Zealand maintains an embassy in the United States at 37 
Observatory Circle NW, Washington, DC  20008 (tel. 202-328-4800, 
fax 202-667-5227). A consulate general is located in Los Angeles 
(tel. 310-207-1605, fax 310-207-3605). Tourism information is 
available through the New Zealand Tourism Board office in Santa 
Monica, California (toll-free tel. 800-388-5494).

POLITICAL CONDITIONS

The conservative National Party and left-leaning Labour Party 
have dominated New Zealand political life since a Labour 
government came to power in 1935. During 14 years in office, the 
Labour Party implemented a broad array of social and economic 
legislation, including comprehensive social security, a large-
scale public works program, a 40-hour workweek, a minimum basic 
wage, and compulsory unionism. The National Party won control of 
the government in 1949 and adopted many welfare measures 
instituted by the Labour Party. Except for two brief periods of 
Labour governments in 1957-60 and 1972-75, National held power 
until 1984. After regaining control in 1984, the Labor government  
instituted a series of radical market-oriented reforms in 
response to New Zealand's mounting external debt.  It also 
enacted anti-nuclear legislation that effectively brought about 
New Zealand's suspension from the ANZUS security alliance with 
the United States and Australia. 
  
In October 1990, the National Party was again elected, capturing 
67 of 97 parliamentary seats in a landslide victory.  To the 
disappointment of some supporters, National continued the 
economic reforms introduced by Labor.  National was narrowly 
reelected in November 1993. Two seats each were won by two new 
opposition parties, the Alliance and New Zealand First. In a 
simultaneous referendum, New Zealanders changed their electoral 
system to a form of proportional representation designed to give 
smaller parties a larger voice in parliament.  In the 1996 
election, the first under the new "mixed-member-proportional" 
(MMP) system, the National Party, at 34% (44 Parliament seats)  
barely edged out Labour (28% - 37 seats) as the top party.  New 
Zealand First (13%) with its 17 seats opted to join National in a 
coalition government.  

ECONOMY

The ongoing region-wide Asian financial crisis, which began in 
1997, has created uncertainty and instability in the New Zealand 
economy.

New Zealand enjoys a high level of prosperity based on exports 
from its efficient agricultural system.  Leading agricultural 
exports include meat, forest products, fruit and vegetables, 
fish, wool and dairy products.  The country has substantial 
hydroelectric power and sizable reserves of natural gas.  Leading 
manufacturing sectors are food processing, metal fabrication, and 
wood and paper products.

New Zealand was a direct beneficiary of many of the reforms 
achieved under the Uruguay Round.  New Zealand agriculture, and 
the dairy sector in particular, have enjoyed many new trade 
opportunities.  Since 1984, government subsidies have been 
eliminated; import regulations have been liberalized; exchange 
rates have been freely floated; controls on interest rates, 
wages, and prices have been removed; and marginal rates of 
taxation reduced. Tight monetary policy and major efforts to 
reduce the government budget deficit have cut inflation from an 
annual rate of more than 18% in 1987 to about 1.6% in 1997. The 
restructuring and sale of government-owned enterprises has 
reduced government's role in the economy and permitted the 
retirement of some public debt. However, the reforms led to 
economic dislocations with unemployment reaching 11% in 1991.  An 
improving economy brought unemployment down to 6.2% by March 
1996, but unemployment remains a significant social concern and 
has been rising for the past year to 7.7% in June 1998.

Economic growth has slowed substantially since an unsustainable 
peak of over 6% in 1994, in response to tighter monetary policy.  
At the same time, by early 1998, real GDP growth was approaching 
2% and economists believe that the Asian financial crisis could 
postpone New Zealand's long-expected economic recovery until 
perhaps 1999.  Business and consumer confidence are trending 
downward, negatively impacting both business investment and 
retail sales.

New Zealand's exports were hurt by the rapid appreciation of the 
NZ dollar from late 1994 to mid-1997 in response to tight 
monetary policy.  With the loosening of monetary conditions 
throughout 1997, the NZ currency lost all of its gains against 
the U.S. dollar, boosting exports in the second half of 1997.  
However, the Asian financial crisis has begun to bite into such 
key foreign exchange earners as tourism from Asia, forestry 
exports, and educational services.  Dairy and meat exports to 
Asia are also expected to suffer in 1998, while manufactured 
products are holding up well.  New Zealand commodity exporters 
are looking to U.S. and European markets to replace lost Asian 
customers.  The current account has been deteriorating 
substantially in the last few years and is expected to create a 
downward risk for the NZ currency.

Prices and access to foreign markets are a constant concern to 
New Zealand.  Exports also have been helped by improving economic 
relations with Australia. Australia and New Zealand are partners 
in "Closer Economic Relations" (CER), which allows for free trade 
in goods and most services. Since 1990, CER has created a single 
market of more than 20 million people, and this has provided new 
opportunities for New Zealand exporters. Australia is now the 
destination of 19.7% of New Zealand's exports, compared to 14% in 
1983. Extending CER to product standardization and taxation 
policy is also under consideration.

U.S. goods and services are increasingly competitive in New 
Zealand. The market-led economy offers many opportunities for 
U.S. exporters and investors. Investment opportunities exist in 
chemicals, food preparation, finance, tourism and forest 
products, as well as in franchising. The best sales prospects are 
for computers, software, medical equipment, chemicals, sporting 
goods, and telecommunications and transportation equipment.

New Zealand welcomes and encourages foreign investment without 
discrimination. Approval by its Overseas Investment 
Commission(OIC) is required for foreign investments over $6.4 
million or investments of any size in two specific sectors--
commercial fishing and rural land. Foreign investment in 
commercial fishing is limited to a 25% holding, unless an 
exemption is granted by the Ministry of Agriculture and 
Fisheries. While the level of ownership is not restricted for 
rural land, foreign purchasers are required to demonstrate that 
the purchase is beneficial to New Zealand. In practice, OIC 
approval requirements have not been an obstacle for U.S. 
investors. No performance requirements are attached to foreign 
direct investment. Full remittance of profits and capital is 
permitted through normal banking channels. 

A number of U.S. companies have subsidiary branches in New 
Zealand. Many companies operate through local agents, and some 
are in association in joint ventures. The U.S. Government 
recognized the generally liberal trading environment in New 
Zealand by signing a bilateral Trade and Investment Framework 
Agreement in 1992 providing for periodic government-to-government 
consultations on bilateral and multilateral trade and investment 
issues and concerns. 

NATIONAL SECURITY

New Zealand has three defense policy objectives: 1) defend New 
Zealand against low-level threats; 2) contribute to regional 
security; and 3) play a part in global security efforts.  New 
Zealand considers its own national defense needs to be modest.  
New Zealand's 1997 Defense Budget provides for significant 
updgrades in equipment over the next five years.  

New Zealand states it maintains a "credible minimum force" to 
reassure its neighbors and allies of its commitment to regional 
stability, although critics maintain that the country's defense 
forces have fallen below this standard.  With a claimed area of 
direct strategic concern that extends from Australia to Southeast 
Asia to the South Pacific, and with defense expenditures that 
total less than 1.4% of GDP, New Zealand necessarily places 
substantial reliance on its defense relationship with larger 
countries.  Before the ANZUS rift over NZ's anti-nuclear 
legislation, its defense relationship with the U.S. was very 
important to New Zealand.  In recent years, NZ has coordinated 
its defense efforts more closely with Australia.  

New Zealand is an active participant in multilateral 
peacekeeping.  It has taken a leading role in trying to bring 
peace to Bougainville, brokering a cease-fire and leading the 
"truce monitoring group" composed of NZ, Australia, Fiji, and 
Vanuatu.  New Zealand maintains a contingent in the Sinai 
Multinational Force and Observers and has contributed to UN 
peacekeeping operations in Angola, Cambodia, Somalia, and the 
former Yugoslavia.  It has also participated in the Multilateral 
Interception Force in the Persian Gulf.  

NZ participates in Mutual Assistance Programs (MAP), sharing 
training facilities and exchanges of personnel, and conducting 
joint exercises with the Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, Papua 
New Guinea, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, Fiji, Tonga, and other 
South Pacific states.  In addition to its MAP partners, NZ 
exercises with its Five Power Defense Arrangement partners 
(Australia, the United Kingdom, Malaysia, and Singapore), as well 
as with Korea.  

Due to New Zealand's anti-nuclear policy, defense cooperation 
with the U.S. (including training exercises) has been 
significantly restricted since 1986.

FOREIGN RELATIONS

New Zealand's foreign policy is oriented chiefly toward developed 
democratic nations and emerging Pacific economies.  The country's 
major political parties have generally agreed on the broad 
outlines of foreign policy, and the current coalition government 
has been active in multilateral fora on issues of recurring 
interest to NZ: trade liberalization, disarmament, and arms 
control.  

New Zealand values the United Nations and its own participation 
in that organization.  It also values its participation in: the 
World Trade Organization (WTO); World Bank; International 
Monetary Fund (IMF); Organization for Economic Cooperation and 
Development (OECD); International Energy Agency; Asian 
Development Bank; South Pacific Forum; The Pacific Community; 
Colombo Plan; Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC); INTELSAT; 
and the International Whaling Commission.  New Zealand is also an 
active member of the Commonwealth.  Despite the 1985 rupture in 
the ANZUS alliance, New Zealand has maintained good working 
relations with the United States and Australia on a broad array 
of international issues.  

In the past, New Zealand's geographic isolation and its 
agricultural economy's general prosperity tended to minimize 
public interest in world affairs. However, growing global trade 
and other international economic events have made New Zealanders 
increasingly aware of their country's dependence on stable 
overseas markets.

New Zealand's economic involvement with Asia has been 
increasingly important, first through aid, mainly to Southeast 
Asia, and  through expanding trade with the growing economies of 
Asia. New Zealand is a "dialogue partner" with the Association of 
South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) and an active participant in 
APEC.

As a charter member of the Colombo Plan, New Zealand has provided 
Asian countries with technical assistance and capital. It also 
contributes through the Asian Development Bank and through UN 
programs. It is a member of the UN Economic and Social Council 
for Asia and the Pacific.

New Zealand has focused its bilateral economic assistance 
resources on projects in the South Pacific island states.  It has 
taken a special interest in facilitating peace and reconciliation 
on Bougainville Island I Papua New Guinea.  NZ's long association 
with Samoa (formerly known as Western Samoa), reflected in a 
treaty of friendship signed in 1962, and its close association 
with Tonga have resulted in a flow of immigrants and visitors 
under work permit schemes from both countries.  New Zealand 
administers the Tokelau Islands and provides foreign policy and 
economic support when requested for the freely associated self-
governing states of the Cook Islands and Niue.  Inhabitants of 
these areas hold New Zealand citizenship.

In 1947, New Zealand joined Australia, France, the United 
Kingdom, and the United States to form the South Pacific 
Commission, a regional body to promote the welfare of the Pacific 
region. New Zealand has been a leader in the organization.  In 
1971, New Zealand joined the other independent and self-governing 
states of the South Pacific to establish the South Pacific Forum, 
which meets annually at the "heads of government" level. 

U.S.-NEW ZEALAND RELATIONS

Bilateral relations are excellent.  The United States and New 
Zealand share common elements of history and culture and a 
commitment to democratic principles.  Senior-level officials 
regularly consult with each on issues of mutual importance.  

The United States established consular representation in New 
Zealand in 1839 to represent and protect American shipping and 
whaling interests. Since the U.K. was responsible for New 
Zealand's foreign affairs, direct U.S.-New Zealand diplomatic 
ties were not established until 1942, when the Japanese threat 
encouraged close U.S.-New Zealand cooperation in the Pacific 
campaign. During the war, more than 400,000 American military 
personnel were stationed in New Zealand to help bolster its 
defenses and to prepare for crucial battles such as Tarawa and 
Guadalcanal.

New Zealand's relationship with the United States in the post-
World War II period was closely associated with the Australian, 
New Zealand, United States (ANZUS) security treaty of 1951, under 
which signatories agreed to consult in case of an attack in the 
Pacific and to "act to meet the common danger." During the 
postwar period, access to New Zealand ports by U.S. vessels 
contributed significantly to the flexibility and effectiveness of 
U.S. naval forces in the Pacific.

Growing concern about nuclear and arms control issues contributed 
to the 1984 election of a Labour Government committed to barring 
nuclear-armed and nuclear-powered warships from New Zealand 
ports. The Labour Government's anti-nuclear policy proved 
incompatible with a long-standing, worldwide U.S. policy of 
neither confirming nor denying the presence or absence of nuclear 
weapons on board U.S. vessels. Moreover, Labour's policy, 
subsequently enacted as legislation, also prohibits visits by 
nuclear powered ships. 

Implementation of New Zealand's policy effectively prevented 
practical alliance cooperation under ANZUS. After extensive 
efforts to resolve the issue proved unsuccessful, in August 1986 
the United States suspended its ANZUS security obligations to New 
Zealand. The United States would welcome New Zealand's 
reassessment of its legislation to permit that country's return 
to full ANZUS cooperation. 

Despite suspension of U.S. security obligations, the New Zealand 
Government has reaffirmed the importance it attaches to continued 
close political, economic, and social ties with the United States 
and Australia.  In trade, the United States is New Zealand's 
third-largest supplier and customer after Australia and Japan.  
Total bilateral trade for 1996 was $3.5 billion (with a $300 
million surplus in favor of the U.S.), U.S. merchandise exports 
to NZ were $1.9 billion.  U.S. direct foreign investment in New 
Zealand (as of 1996) totaled $4.8 billion, largely concentrated 
in manufacturing, forestry, telecommunications services, and 
finance.   

New Zealand has worked closely with the U.S. to promote free 
trade in the GATT/WTO, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation 
(APEC) forum, and other multilateral fora.  The U.S. and New 
Zealand hold annual high-level trade and investment meetings.  

The U.S. and New Zealand work together closely on scientific 
research in the Antarctic.  Christchurch, New Zealand is the 
staging area for the shared logistical support of the U.S. 
National Science Foundation's (NSF) three permanent bases in 
Antarctica and New Zealand's one base, located just three 
kilometers from the principal U.S. base.  

Principal U.S. Embassy Officials

Ambassador--Josiah H. Beeman
Deputy Chief of Mission--Richard T. Miller
Political and Economic Counselor--Karen Krueger
Agricultural Attache--Gary Meyers
Defense Attache--Captain John Langer, USN
Public Affairs Officer--Frank Huffman
Administrative Officer--Boyd Doty
Consul (Auckland)--Michael Thurston
Senior Commercial Officer (Auckland)--M. Philip Gates

The U.S. Embassy in New Zealand is located at 29 Fitzherbert 
Terrace, Thorndon, Wellington (tel. 64-4-472-2068, fax 64-4-471-
2380); the U.S. Consulate General is located on the 4th Floor, 
Yorkshire General Building, corner of Shortland and O'Connell 
Streets, Auckland (tel. 64-9-303-2724, fax 64-9-366-0870).  For 
information on foreign economic trends, commercial development, 
production, trade regulations, and tariff rates, contact the 
Bureau of Export Development, International Trade Administration, 
U.S. Department of Commerce, Washington, DC 20230. This 
information is also available from any Commerce Department 
district office.  

TRAVEL AND BUSINESS INFORMATION

The U.S. Department of State's Consular Information Program 
provides Travel Warnings and Consular Information Sheets. Travel 
Warnings are issued when the State Department recommends that 
Americans avoid travel to a certain country. Consular Information 
Sheets exist for all countries and include information on 
immigration practices, currency regulations, health conditions, 
areas of instability, crime and security, political disturbances, 
and the addresses of the U.S. posts in the country. Public 
Announcements are issued as a means to disseminate information 
quickly about terrorist threats and other relatively short-term 
conditions overseas which pose significant risks to the security 
of American travelers. Free copies of this information are 
available by calling the Bureau of Consular Affairs at 202-647-
5225 or via the fax-on-demand system: 202-647-3000. Travel 
Warnings and Consular Information Sheets also are available on 
the Consular Affairs Internet home page: http://travel.state.gov 
and the Consular Affairs Bulletin Board (CABB). To access CABB, 
dial the modem number: 301-946-4400 (it will accommodate up to 
33,600 bps), set terminal communications program to N-8-1(no 
parity, 8 bits, 1 stop bit); and terminal emulation to VT100. The 
login is travel and the password is info. (Note: Lower case is 
required). The CABB also carries international security 
information from the Overseas Security Advisory Council and 
Department's Bureau of Diplomatic Security. Consular Affairs 
Trips for Travelers publication series, which contain information 
on obtaining passports and planning a safe trip abroad, can be 
purchased from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government 
Printing Office, P.O. Box 371954, Pittsburgh, PA 15250-7954; 
telephone: 202-512-1800; fax 202-512-2250.

Emergency information concerning Americans traveling abroad may 
be obtained from the Office of Overseas Citizens Services at 
(202) 647-5225. For after-hours emergencies, Sundays and 
holidays, call 202-647-4000.

Passport Services information can be obtained by calling the 24-
hour, 7-day a week automated system ($.35 per minute) or live 
operators 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. (EST) Monday-Friday ($1.05 per 
minute). The number is 1-900-225-5674 (TDD: 1-900-225-7778). 
Major credit card users (for a flat rate of $4.95) may call 1-
888-362-8668 (TDD: 1-888-498-3648).

Travelers can check the latest health information with the U.S. 
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia. A 
hotline at (404) 332-4559 gives the most recent health 
advisories, immunization recommendations or requirements, and 
advice on food and drinking water safety for regions and 
countries. A booklet entitled Health Information for 
International Travel (HHS publication number CDC-95-8280) is 
available from the U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, 
DC 20402, tel. (202) 512-1800. 

Information on travel conditions, visa requirements, currency and 
customs regulations, legal holidays, and other items of interest 
to travelers also may be obtained before your departure from a 
country's embassy and/or consulates in the U.S. (for this 
country, see "Principal Government Officials" listing in this 
publication).

U.S. citizens who are long-term visitors or traveling in 
dangerous areas are encouraged to register at the U.S. embassy 
upon arrival in a country (see "Principal U.S. Embassy Officials" 
listing in this publication). This may help family members 
contact you in case of an emergency.

Further Electronic Information

Department of State Foreign Affairs Network. Available on the 
Internet, DOSFAN provides timely, global access to official U.S. 
foreign policy information. Updated daily, DOSFAN includes 
Background Notes; Dispatch, the official magazine of U.S. foreign 
policy; daily press briefings; Country Commercial Guides; 
directories of key officers of foreign service posts; etc. 
DOSFAN's World Wide Web site is at http://www.state.gov.

U.S. Foreign Affairs on CD-ROM (USFAC). Published on an annual 
basis by the U.S. Department of State, USFAC archives information 
on the Department of State Foreign Affairs Network, and includes 
an array of official foreign policy information from 1990 to the 
present. Contact the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government 
Printing Office, P.O. Box 371954, Pittsburgh, PA 15250-7954. To 
order, call (202) 512-1800 or fax (202) 512-2250.

National Trade Data Bank (NTDB). Operated by the U.S. Department 
of Commerce, the NTDB contains a wealth of trade-related 
information. It is available on the Internet (www.stat-usa.gov) 
and on CD-ROM. Call the NTDB Help-Line at (202) 482-1986 for more 
information.

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