U.S. Department of State

Background Notes: Uzbekistan, September 1998

Official Name: Republic of Uzbekistan


PROFILE

Geography

Area: 477,000 sq. km. (117,868 sq. mi.)--slightly larger than
California. 
Major cities: Capital--Tashkent (pop. 2.5 million); Samarkand
(600,000); Bukhara (350,000). Terrain: Flat-to-rolling sandy desert
with dunes; broad, flat intensely irrigated river valleys along
Amu Darya, Syr Darya; shrinking Aral Sea; semiarid grasslands
in east. 
Climate: Mid-latitude desert--long, hot summers, mild winters.

People

Nationality: Uzbek. 
Population (1998 est.): Approx. 24 million. 
Annual growth rate: Approx. 1.87%.
Ethnic groups: Uzbek 71%, Russian 8%, Tajik 5%, Kazakh 4%, Tatar
2%,Karakalpak 2%, others 8%.
Religion: Moslem 88% (Sunni), Eastern Orthodox 9%, other 3%. 

Language: Uzbek 74%, Russian 14%, Tajik 4%, other 8%. Uzbek is
the state language; Russian is the de facto language of interethnic
and business communication. 
Education: Literacy--98% (total population). 
Health (1996): Life expectancy--66 yr. men; 73 yr. women. 
Work force (8.8 million): Agricultural and forestry--44%.
Industry and construction--20%. Other--36%.

Government

Type: Republic. 
Independence: September 1, 1991. 
Constitution: December 8, 1992. 
Branches: Executive--president, prime minister, cabinet.
Legislative--Supreme Assembly (Oliy Majlis)-- unicameral
(250 seats). Judiciary--Supreme Court, constitutional court,
economic court. 
Administrative subdivisions: 12, plus autonomous region of 
Karakalpakstan
and city of Tashkent. 
Political parties: People's Democratic Party of Uzbekistan (69
seats in Oliy Majlis); Justice Party (47 seats); Fatherland
Progress Party (14 seats); National Rebirth Party (3 seats). Many
legislators are not affiliated with any party. 
Other political or pressure groups: Islamic Renaissance Party
(effectively banned since independence); Birlik People's Movement
and Erk Democratic Party (both de-registered 1992). 
Suffrage: Universal at age 18 (unless imprisoned or certified
as insane). 
Defense: Total forces (army and air force) approximately 90,000.
Universal 18-month military service for men. 
Flag: Blue, white, and green horizontal bands separated by thin
red lines; white crescent and 12 white stars representing 12 regions
in upper left (on blue band). 

Economy

GDP (1997/WB): $21.3 billion. 
Annual growth rate (1997/IMF): 1.7%. 
Per capita GDP (1997/IMF): $895. 
Per capita GDP growth rate(1997/IMF): 0. 
Natural resources: natural gas, oil, also large reserves of gold,
copper, lead, zinc, tungsten, and uranium. 
Agriculture: Products-Cotton, fourth-largest producer worldwide;
vegetables, fruits, grain, livestock, and silkworm. 
Industry: Types--Primarily chemical, based on by-products
of cotton processing. Also automobiles, aircraft. Dependent for
most industrial goods on other NIS countries. 
Trade (1997): Total exports--approx. $4 billion: cotton
fiber, gold, textiles, metallurgy, natural gas. Major markets--Russia,
US, other NIS, Germany, United Kingdom, Netherlands, Turkey. Total
imports--approx. $4.7 billion, 1997/IMF: machinery, food.
Major partners--Russia, Korea, US, Germany, Japan, Turkey,
NIS. (n.b.: Figures do not include informal or unrecorded trade).
Principal U.S. exports--aircraft, tractors, agricultural/construction
equipment, wheat. Principal U.S. imports--uranium, copper,
cotton fiber. Debt--external: $2.3 billion ($510 million
to Russia). Debt service/exports--14.4 % (1997/WB).

PEOPLE

Uzbekistan is Central Asia's most highly populated country. Its
24 million people, concentrated in the south and east of the country,
are close to half the region's total population. Uzbekistan had
been one of the poorest republics of the Soviet Union; much of
its population was engaged in cotton farming in small rural 
communities.
The population continues to be heavily rural and dependent on
farming for its livelihood.

The predominant nationality is Uzbek. Other nationalities represented
include Russians, 8% of the population, Tajiks 5%, Kazakhs 4%,
Tatar 2%, Karakalpak 2%, and others 8% (1989 census). In terms
of religion, the nation is 88% Sunni Moslem, 9% Eastern Orthodox,
and 3% other. Uzbek is the official state language; however, Russian
is the de facto language for interethnic communication, including
day-to-day government and business use.

The educational system has achieved 98% literacy and the mean
amount of schooling for both men and women is 11 years. However,
due to budget constraints and other transition problems following
the collapse of the Soviet Union, texts and other school supplies,
teaching methods, curricula, and educational institutions are
outdated, inappropriate, and poorly kept. Additionally, the proportion
of school-aged persons enrolled has been dropping. While the government
is concerned about this, budgets remain tight, and foreign aid
for education has not been sufficient to compensate.

Similarly, in health care, life expectancy is long, but after
the breakup of the Soviet Union, health care resources have declined,
reducing health care quality, accessibility, and efficiency. 


HISTORY

Located in the heart of Central Asia between the Amu Darya and
Syr Darya Rivers, Uzbekistan has a long and interesting heritage.
The leading cities of the famous Silk Road-- Samarkand, Bukhara,
and Khiva--are located in Uzbekistan, and many famous conquerors
passed through the land. Alexander the Great stopped near Samarkand
on his way to India in 327 B.C. and married Roxanna, daughter
of a local chieftain. Conquered by Muslim Arabs in the eigth century
A.D., the indigenous Samanid dynasty established an empire in
the 9th century. Its territory was overrun by Genghis Khan and
his Mongols in 1220. In the 1300's, Timur, known in the west as
Tamerlane, built an empire with its capital at Samarkand. Uzbekistan's
most noted tourist sights date from the Timurid dynasty. Later,
separate Muslim city-states emerged with strong ties to Persia.

Russian trade with this region grew during the 16th and 17th centuries
and, in 1865, Russia occupied Tashkent. By the end of the 19th
century, Russia has conquered all of Central Asia. During this
time, hostilities between Russia and Great Britain were prevented
by Afghanistan, which served as a buffer state between the two
empires, and through an agreement that East Turkestan was to be
under Chinese rule. 

In 1876, the Russians dissolved the Khanate of Kokand, while allowing
the Khanates of Khiva and Bukhara to remain as direct protectorates.
Russia placed the rest of Central Asia under colonial administration,
and invested in the development of Central Asia's infrastructure,
promoting cotton growing, and encouraging settlement by Russian
colonists.

In 1924, following the establishment of Soviet power, the Soviet
Socialist Republic of Uzbekistan was founded from the territories
of the Khanates of Bukhara and Khiva and portions of the Fergana
Valley that had constituted the Khanate of Kokand. 

During the Soviet era, Moscow used Uzbekistan for its tremendous
cotton-growing and natural resource potential. The inefficient
irrigation used to support the former has been the main cause
of shrinkage of the Aral Sea to half its former volume, making
this one of the world's most important environmental disasters.

Uzbekistan declared independence on September 1, 1991. Islam Karimov,
former First Secretary of the Communist Party, was elected President
in December 1991 with 88% of the vote; however, the election was
not viewed as free or fair by foreign observers. Most government
leaders are former Soviet or Communist officials; the dominant
political party, the People's Democratic Party of Uzbekistan,
is the former Communist Party. 

GOVERNMENT AND POLITICAL CONDITIONS

Constitutionally, the government of Uzbekistan provides for separation
of powers, freedom of speech, and representative government. In
reality, the executive holds almost all power. The judiciary lacks
independence and the legislature, which meets only a few days
each year, has little power to shape laws. The President selects
and replaces provincial governors. Under terms of a December 1995
referendum, Karimov's first term was extended to 2000 and he will
be eligible to run for another five-year term then. Several political
parties have been formed with government approval but have yet
to show ability to or interest in advocating alternatives to government
policy. Similarly, although multiple media outlets (radio, TV,
newspaper) have been established, these either remain under government
control, or rarely broach political topics.

Principal Government Officials (as of 6/30/98)

President--Islam Karimov
Prime Minister--Otkir Sultanov
First Deputy Prime Minister--Ismoil Jurabekov (Minister of Agriculture)

Deputy Prime Ministers

Bakhtiyor Hamidov--Macroeconomics and Statistics
Viktor Chzhen-Privatization
Kayim Hakkulov --Energy, Natural Resources; Chairman of the Board
of "Uzbekneftegaz")
Dilbar Ghulomova-Women's Issues 
Alisher Azizkhojayev-Science, Health, Social Welfare, Culture

Mirabror Usmonov-Trade, Communal Services
Rustam Yunosov--Transport, Construction
Lerik Akhmeton--Communications

Key Ministers

Hairulla Jurayev -Culture
Gen.-Lt. Hikmatulla Tursunov-Defense
Jura Yuldashev-Education
Bakhodir Kasymov--Emergency Situations
Jamsheed Sayfiddinov-Finance
Abdulaziz Kamilov--Foreign Affairs
Elyor Ghaniyev--Foreign Economic Relations
Shavkat Karimov-Health
Zokirjon Almatov--Internal Affairs
Sirojiddin Mirsafoyev-Justice
Okiljon Obidov-Labor
Bakhodir Umurzakov--Social Protection

Other Key Officials

Timur Alimov--Presidential Advisor, Organizational and Cadre Issues

Usmon C. Khudaikulov--Presidential Advisor, National Security

Vyacheslav Golyshev--Presidential Advisor, Social and Economic
Policy
Alisher Fayzullaev--Presidential Advisor, Interstate and Foreign
Economic Issues Rustam Azimov--Chairman, National Bank-Foreign
Economics
Shadiatov Shoaziz Shamirzaevich--Director, Foreign Investment
Agency
Fayzulla Mullajanov--Chairman, State Bank
Tulkin Shayakubov--Chairman, State Committee for Geology and Mineral
Resources Rustam Inoyatov--Chairman, National Security Service

Mirakbar Rakhmonqulov--Secretary, National Security Council 

Ambassador to the United States--Sadiq Safaev
Ambassador to the United Nations--Alisher Vohidov

The Republic of Uzbekistan maintains an embassy at 1746 Massachusetts
Ave., N.W., Washington, D.C. 20036. Tel.: (202) 887-5300; fax
(202) 293-6804. Its consulate and mission to the U.N. in New York
are located at 866 United Nations Plaza, Suite 326/327a, New York,
N.Y. 10017. Consulate tel.: (212) 754-7403; fax: (212) 486-7998.


ECONOMY

Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Uzbekistan's economy
was insulated from much of the economic decline that plagued most
of the NIS because of its labor-intensive economy based on agriculture
and mineral extraction. Rapid growth in oil and gas production
allowed Uzbekistan to eliminate oil imports and increase gas exports.
Additionally, Uzbekistan shifted some of its crop acreage from
cotton to grains to approach grain self-sufficiency as well. However,
this success has masked steep declines in some areas of industry.

GDP and Employment 

GDP fell 18% from 1991-95, a remarkably good performance compared
to the other countries in the NIS, and grew 1.6 % in 1996, but
Uzbekistan avoided undertaking much of the systemic change that
could serve as a basis for future growth. Government claims that
GDP rose 5.2% in 1997, but the IMF estimates the growth at 1.7%.
Official unemployment stood at 0.4% in 1996, but effective unemployment
is estimated at 5%, and another 10% are underemployed in the 
agricultural
sector.

Prices; Monetary /Fiscal Policy 

Uzbekistan's inflation averaged nearly 1,000% p.a. in 1992-94,
peaking at 1,281% in 1994 (12 month change in CPI). Following
introduction in July 1994 of the national currency, the soum,
however, the government undertook stabilization and economic reforms
supported by an IMF Systemic Transformation Facility. These brought
inflation down to 117% in 1995, 64% in 1996, and 45% in 1997.
Annual growth in money supply (M2) fell progressively from 680%
in 1994 to 158% in 1995, 100% in 1996, and an estimated 70% in
1997. The later reductions would have been sharper but for a surge
in government credit at the end of 1996 to finance the cotton
harvest and pay pension and wage arrears. 

Also at the end of 1996, the government instituted currency 
convertibility
restrictions which have resulted in widely divergent official
and market exchange rates: the average soum/dollar rate in 1997
was 79.3 at the Central Bank and 177.5 on the parallel market.
The IMF's standby facility was suspended in October 1996 due primarily
to the restrictions on currency convertibility. 

Uzbekistan has a strong tax collections system but has had some
difficulty in controlling expenditures, estimated at 34% of GDP
in 1997. While the government succeeded in reducing its budget
deficit from 10.4% of GDP in 1993 to 4.1% in 1995, the deficit
ballooned to 7.3% in 1996. Renewed austerity brought the deficit
to an estimated 3.9% of GDP in 1997, although much GOU spending
remains off-budget. External debt has grown rapidly, but remains
modest at approximately $2.3 billion, and debt/GDP has declined
since 1994. Debt service/exports was 14.4% at year-end 1997.

Agriculture and Natural Resources 

Agriculture and the agro-industrial sector contribute over 40%
to Uzbekistan's economy. Cotton is Uzbekistan's dominant crop;
it is the world's fourth largest producer and second largest exporter,
accounting for roughly 45% of the country's exports (gold is second
at 22%). It also produces significant amounts of silk, fruits,
and vegetables. In recent years, Uzbekistan has switched some
territory from cotton to grains in an effort to achieve self-
sufficiency
in the latter. Virtually all agriculture involves heavy irrigation.
Agriculture faces intense competition from other states in the
region, and agricultural workers receive very low wages.

Minerals and mining are another foundation of Uzbekistan's economy.
Gold is most prominent; Uzbekistan is the world's seventh largest
producer, about 80 tons p.a., and holds the fourth largest reserves.
Uzbekistan has an abundance of natural gas, used both for domestic
consumption and export; oil almost sufficient for domestic needs;
and exportable reserves of copper, lead, zinc, tungsten, and uranium.

Trade and Investment 

While exports and imports have both grown rapidly since independence,
imports have grown faster and have left the country with a large
current account deficit. In the face of this, Uzbekistan has adopted
a policy of import substitution, reflected for example, in its
strong focus on increased wheat and oil and gas production. However,
much of the import growth has been in capital equipment related
to investment projects. Currency convertibility restrictions have
severely constrained trade and new investment.

Uzbekistan's traditional "trade" partners are NIS states,
notably Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and the other Central Asian
countries. Non-NIS partners have been increasing in importance
in recent years, with the U.S., Korea, Germany, Japan, and Turkey
being the most active. 

Uzbekistan is a member of the IMF, World Bank, the Asian Development
Bank, and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.
It has observer status at the World Trade Organization, and is
a member of the World Intellectual Property Organization. It is
a signatory to the Convention on Settlement of Investment Disputes
Between States and Nationals of Other States, the Paris Convention
on Industrial Property, the Madrid Agreement on Trademarks Protection,
and the Patent Cooperation Treaty. The government states it is
in process of acceding to the Bern Copyright Convention and Geneva
Phonogram Convention. Uzbekistan has patent, copyright, and trademark
laws dating from 1996.

FOREIGN RELATIONS

Uzbekistan joined the Commonwealth of Independent States in December
1991 and has supported economic ties within this bloc. However,
it is opposed to re-integration and has rejected any CIS collective
security arrangement or political organization. It participates
in the CIS peacekeeping force in Tajikistan and in UN-organized
groups to help resolve the Tajik and Afghan conflicts, both of
which it sees as posing threats to its own stability. It is a
member of the United Nations, the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council,
Partnership for Peace, and the Organization on Security and Cooperation
in Europe (OSCE). It belongs to the Organization of the Islamic
Conference (OIC) and the Economic Cooperation Organization (comprised
of the five Central Asian countries, Azerbaijan, Turkey, Iran,
Afghanistan, and Pakistan). It is a founding member of the Central
Asian Union, formed with Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, and joined
in March 1998 by Tajikistan.

DEFENSE 

Uzbekistan's military is sizeable, with total forces of close
to 100,000, but lacks sophisticated training and modern equipment.
It spent approximately 3.7% of its GDP on the military in 1996.
It has accepted the arms control obligations of the former Soviet
Union and has acceded to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty
as a non-nuclear weapons state. It is a contributor to the Central
Asian Peacekeeping Battalion with Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, which
the U.S. has supported.

U.S.-UZBEK RELATIONS

The U.S. recognized the independence of Uzbekistan on December
25, 1991, and opened an embassy in Tashkent in March 1992. 

The U.S. believes that its own interests will best be served by
development of an independent, stable, prosperous, and democratic
Central Asia. As the most populous country in Central Asia and
the only one that borders all the others, Uzbekistan plays a pivotal
role in the region. The United States accordingly has developed
a broad relationship covering political, military, nonproliferation,
economic, trade, assistance and related issues. This has been
institutionalized through the establishment of the U.S.-Uzbekistan
Joint Commission, which held its first meeting in February 1998.

Uzbekistan has been a strong partner of the United States on foreign
policy and security issues ranging from Iraq to Cuba, nuclear
proliferation to narcotics trafficking. It has sought active 
participation
in Western security initiatives under the Partnership for Peace,
OSCE, and the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council. Uzbekistan views
its American ties as balancing regional influences, helping Uzbekistan
assert its own regional role, and encouraging foreign investment.
The United States, in turn, values Uzbekistan as a stable, moderate
force in a turbulent region; a market for U.S. exports; a producer
of important resources (gold, uranium, natural gas); and a regional
hub for pipelines, transportation, communications, and other 
infrastructure
in which U.S. firms seek a leading role.

The United States urges greater reform as necessary for long-term
stability and prosperity. Registration of independent political
parties and human rights NGOs would be an important step. Enforcement
of constitutional safeguards ensuring personal, religious, and
press freedom and civil liberties is also needed. Additionally,
the U.S. urges continued support of UN peace efforts in Tajikistan
and Afghanistan and neutrality toward the Afghan factions. 

Bilateral Economic Relations

Trade and investment. Between 1992 and 1996,
United States' trade and investment with Uzbekistan grew rapidly.
U.S. exports reached $352 million in 1996, concentrated in passenger
aircraft, wheat, and agricultural machinery. U.S. imports from
Uzbekistan reached $157 million in 1996. Both fell sharply in
1997, reflecting in part Uzbekistan's currency convertibility
restrictions (enacted in late 1996); U.S. exports to Uzbekistan
were $234 million, while U.S. imports were $39 million. 

Nonetheless, Uzbekistan's large consumer market, educated workforce,
and potential as a production/distribution base for goods for
the region warrant U.S. interest. Trade relations are regulated
by a bilateral trade agreement, which entered into force January
14, 1994. It provides for extension of most favored nation trade
status between the two countries. The U.S. additionally granted
Uzbekistan exemption from many U.S. import tariffs under the 
Generalized
System of Preferences (GSP status) on August 17, 1994. A Bilateral
Investment Treaty was signed December 16, 1994; it has been ratified
by Uzbekistan, but is still awaiting U.S. Senate ratification.
The U.S.-Uzbekistan civil aviation agreement, signed February
27, 1998, which provides for "Open Skies," offers potential
for greatly expanded air transport by U.S. carriers to the region.

Assistance. Between 1992 and 1998, the United States has
provided roughly $144 million in humanitarian aid, technical 
assistance,
and investment support in Uzbekistan. These programs were designed
to promote market reform and to establish a foundation for an
open, prosperous, democratic society.

--USAID provides both technical and humanitarian assistance. Technical
assistance to Uzbekistan promotes sound fiscal and management
policies, improved private business operations, a competitive
private sector, citizens participation in political and economic
decision-making, improved sustainability of social benefits and
services, private investment in the energy sector, reduced 
environmental
risks to public health, and other multi-sector reform programs.


Programs include business training, subsidies for business development,
environmental and science education, and environmental preservation
programs. The latter includes the Aral Sea/ Regional Water Cooperation
program involving the ICKKU, the establishment of water users'
associations, waste minimization demonstration programs, and the
National Environmental Action Plan. Humanitarian assistance is
primarily in the health sector, to alleviate effects of the Aral
Sea ecological disaster. 


--Peace Corps staff arrived in Uzbekistan in August, 1992,
and a bilateral agreement to establish Peace Corps in Uzbekistan
was signed November 4, 1992. The first volunteers arrived in December,
1992. As of May 1998, there were 55 volunteers working in education
and small business development. Peace Corps also plans to start
a program in health care.


-- The U.S. Trade and Development Agency helps fund feasibility
studies by U.S. firms and provides other planning services related
to major projects in developing countries including Uzbekistan.
TDA sponsored a May 1998 conference of all the Central Asian states
concerning business development and expansion in the region.


--USIA exchange programs, farmer-to-farmer exchanges, and the
Department of Commerce's SABIT Business Internship Program contribute
to expansion of technical know-how and support bilateral relations.
The U.S. also provides export finance/guarantees and political
risk insurance for U.S. exporters and investors through the U.S.
Export-Import Bank and the Overseas Private Investment Corp. (OPIC).



Principal U.S. Embassy Officials

Ambassador--Joseph A. Presel 
Secretary--Michelle R. Donnelly
Deputy Chief of Mission--Joseph Limprecht
Political/Economic Officer--John Fox
SCO/FCS--Jack Tucker
Administrative Officer--David Ball 
Public Affairs Officer/USIS--Karen Aguilar
Consul--Steven Giegerich
DAO--LTC Anthony Neal

U.S. Agency for International Development--Theresa Ware 
Peace Corps-- Lawrence Leahy

The U.S. Embassy in Tashkent is at 82 Chilanzarskaya; tel. [998]
(71) 120-5450; fax: [998] (71) 120-6335; duty officer (cellular):
[998] (71) 180-4060.

The Foreign Commercial Service, U.S. Information Service, and
U.S. Agency for International Development are at the Sharq Building,
41 Buyuk Turon St. FCS tel.: [998] (71) 120-6705 or 6706, 133-2880,
1870 or 0597; fax: 120-6692. USIS: [998] (71) 133-7096, 3581,
or 5974; fax: 120-6224; duty officer (cellular): 180-4087. USAID
tel.: [998] (71) 133-1852, 1797, or 7656; fax: 120-6309. Peace
Corps is at 2 Sapernaya St. 63/65; tel.: [998] (71) 54-92-96,
54-94-84, or 54-96-60; fax: 54-98-50; duty officer (cellular):
[998] (71) 180-4093.

Until March 1, 1999, a dual country/area code system is in effect,
allowing use of the former country/area codes. For Tashkent, this
was [7] (3712) for six-digit numbers and [7] (371) for seven-digit
numbers. 


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
annually 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. 

[end of document]

Return to Europe Background Notes Archive
Return to Background Notes Archive Homepage
Return to Electronic Research Collection Homepage