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U.S. Department of State 
Belize Country Commercial Guide 
Office of the Coordinator for Business Affairs 
 
 
 
                           COUNTRY COMMERCIAL GUIDE 
                                    BELIZE 
 
 
 
PREPARED BY 
THE ECONOMIC/COMMERCIAL SECTION 
AMERICAN EMBASSY - BELIZE 
 
JULY 1995 
 
 
 
TABLE OF CONTENTS 
 
CHAPTER I. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY 
 
CHAPTER II. ECONOMIC TRENDS AND OUTLOOK 
     - MAJOR TRENDS AND OUTLOOK 
     - PRINCIPAL GROWTH SECTORS 
     - GOVERNMENT ROLE IN THE ECONOMY 
     - BALANCE OF PAYMENTS SITUATION 
     - INFRASTRUCTURE SITUATION 
 
CHAPTER III. POLITICAL ENVIRONMENT 
     - U.S.- BELIZE RELATIONS 
     - MAJOR POLITICAL ISSUES AFFECTING BUSINESS CLIMATE 
     - GOVERNMENT AND POLITICAL SYSTEM 
 
CHAPTER IV. MARKETING U.S. PRODUCTS AND SERVICES 
     - DISTRIBUTION AND SALES CHANNELS 
     - USE OF AGENTS/DISTRIBUTORS - FINDING A PARTNER 
     - FRANCHISING 
     - DIRECT MARKETING 
     - JOINT VENTURES/LICENSING 
     - STEPS TO ESTABLISHING AN OFFICE 
     - SELLING FACTORS/TECHNIQUES 
     - ADVERTISING AND TRADE PROMOTION 
     - PRICING PRODUCT 
     - SALES SERVICE/CUSTOMER SUPPORT 
     - SELLING TO THE GOVERNMENT 
     - PROTECTING YOUR PRODUCT FROM IPR INFRINGEMENT 
     - NEED FOR A LOCAL ATTORNEY 
      
CHAPTER V. LEADING SECTORS FOR U.S. EXPORTS AND INVESTMENT 
     - BEST PROSPECTS FOR NON-AGRICULTURAL GOODS AND SERVICES 
     - BEST PROSPECTS FOR AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTS 
 
CHAPTER VI. TRADE REGULATIONS AND STANDARDS 
     - TRADE AND INVESTMENT BARRIERS 
     - CUSTOMS VALUATION 
     - IMPORT LICENSES 
     - EXPORT CONTROLS 
     - IMPORT/EXPORT DOCUMENTATION 
     - TEMPORARY ENTRY 
     - LABELLING AND MARKING REQUIREMENTS 
     - PROHIBITED IMPORTS 
     - STANDARDS 
     - FREE TRADE ZONES/WAREHOUSES 
     - SPECIAL IMPORT PROVISIONS 
     - MEMBERSHIP IN FREE TRADE ARRANGEMENTS 
 
CHAPTER VII. INVESTMENT CLIMATE 
     - OPENNESS TO FOREIGN INVESTMENT 
     - CONVERSION AND TRANSFER POLICIES 
     - EXPROPRIATION AND COMPENSATION 
     - DISPUTE SETTLEMENT 
     - POLITICAL VIOLENCE 
     - PERFORMANCE REQUIREMENTS/INCENTIVES 
     - RIGHT TO PRIVATE OWNERSHIP AND ESTABLISHMENT 
     - PROTECTION OF PROPERTY RIGHTS 
     - REGULATORY SYSTEM: LAWS AND PROCEDURES 
     - BILATERAL INVESTMENT AGREEMENTS 
     - OPIC AND OTHER INVESTMENT INSURANCE PROGRAMS 
     - LABOR 
     - FOREIGN TRADE ZONES/FREE PORTS 
     - CAPITAL OUTFLOW POLICY 
     - MAJOR FOREIGN INVESTORS 
 
CHAPTER VIII. TRADE AND PROJECT FINANCING 
     - BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF BANKING SYSTEM 
     - FOREIGN EXCHANGE CONTROLS AFFECTING TRADING 
     - GENERAL FINANCING AVAILABILITY 
     - HOW TO FINANCE EXPORTS/METHODS OF PAYMENT 
     - TYPES OF AVAILABLE EXPORT FINANCING AND INSURANCE 
     - PROJECT FINANCING AVAILABLE 
     - LIST OF LOCAL BANKS  
 
CHAPTER IX. BUSINESS TRAVEL 
     - BUSINESS CUSTOMS 
     - TRAVEL ADVISORY AND VISAS 
     - HOLIDAYS 
     - BUSINESS INFRASTRUCTURE 
 
CHAPTER X. APPENDICES 
 
APPENDIX A. COUNTRY DATA  
     - POPULATION 
     - POPULATION GROWTH RATE (PERCENT) 
     - RELIGIONS 
     - GOVERNMENT SYSTEM 
     - LANGUAGES 
     - WORK WEEK 
 
APPENDIX B. DOMESTIC ECONOMY  
     - GDP 
     - GDP GROWTH RATE (PERCENT) 
     - GDP PER CAPITA 
     - GOVERNMENT SPENDING AS PERCENT OF GDP 
     - INFLATION (PERCENT) 
     - UNEMPLOYMENT (PERCENT) 
     - FOREIGN RESERVES 
     - OFFICIAL EXCHANGE RATE FOR USD 1.00 
     - EXTERNAL PUBLIC DEBT 
     - DEBT SERVICE PAYMENTS (PRINCIPAL AND INTEREST) 
     - U.S. ECONOMIC/MILITARY ASSISTANCE 
 
APPENDIX C. TRADE 
     - TOTAL DOMESTIC EXPORTS 
     - TOTAL DOMESTIC EXPORTS TO THE U.S. 
     - U.S. SHARE OF BELIZEAN EXPORTS (PERCENT) 
     - TOTAL IMPORTS 
     - TOTAL IMPORTS FROM THE U.S. 
     - U.S. SHARE OF BELIZEAN IMPORTS (PERCENT) 
     - BALANCE OF TRADE WITH THE U.S. 
      
     IMPORTS OF MANUFACTURED GOODS  
     - TOTAL (FROM WORLD) 
     - FROM THE U.S 
     - U.S. SHARE OF MANUFACTURED IMPORTS (PERCENT) 
     - MANUFACTURED GOODS TRADE BALANCE WITH U.S. 
 
     IMPORTS OF AGRICULTURAL GOODS 
     - TOTAL (FROM WORLD) 
     - FROM THE U.S. 
     - U.S. SHARE OF AGRICULTURAL IMPORTS (PERCENT) 
     - AGRICULTURAL GOODS TRADE BALANCE WITH U.S. 
 
     TRADE BALANCE WITH LEADING PARTNERS 
     - UNITED KINGDOM 
     - MEXICO 
     - CANADA 
 
APPENDIX D. INVESTMENT STATISTICS 
     - FOREIGN DIRECT INVESTMENT 
 
APPENDIX E. U.S. AND COUNTRY CONTACTS 
     - COUNTRY GOVERNMENT AGENCIES 
     - COUNTRY TRADE ASSOCIATIONS/CHAMBERS OF COMMERCE 
     - COUNTRY MARKET RESEARCH FIRMS 
     - COUNTRY COMMERCIAL BANKS 
     - U.S. EMBASSY TRADE PERSONNEL 
     - WASHINGTON-BASED USG COUNTRY CONTACTS 
      
APPENDIX F. MARKET RESEARCH 
     - LIST OF AVAILABLE AND UPCOMING DOC/ISAS AND IMIS 
     - LIST OF USDA/FAS/COMMODITY REPORTS FOR COUNTRY 
 
APPENDIX G. TRADE EVENT SCHEDULE 
 
 
 
 
 
-------------------- 
I. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY 
-------------------- 
 
BELIZE, THE SECOND SMALLEST AND LEAST POPULATED COUNTRY IN CENTRAL 
AMERICA (1994 EST. POP. 209,000), HAS AN OPEN, FREE MARKET ECONOMY BASED 
PRIMARILY ON AGRICULTURE AND SERVICES.  CANE SUGAR, THE NUMBER ONE 
FOREIGN EXCHANGE EARNER, ACCOUNTED FOR 31.6 PERCENT OF TOTAL DOMESTIC 
EXPORTS IN 1994.  THIS WAS FOLLOWED BY TOURISM, BANANAS, GARMENTS, 
CITRUS, AND MARINE PRODUCTS.  
 
BELIZE CONTINUES TO RELY HEAVILY ON FOREIGN TRADE, WITH THE UNITED 
STATES AS ITS NUMBER ONE TRADING PARTNER.  LAST YEAR THE U.S. ACCOUNTED 
FOR 38.8 PERCENT OF BELIZE'S TOTAL EXPORTS AND PROVIDED 53.1 PERCENT OF 
ALL BELIZEAN IMPORTS.  OTHER MAJOR TRADING PARTNERS INCLUDE THE UNITED 
KINGDOM, WESTERN EUROPE, CANADA, MEXICO, AND CARICOM MEMBER STATES. 
 
BELIZE'S SMALL MARKET SIZE MAY NOT JUSTIFY LARGE-SCALE MARKETING EFFORTS 
BY U.S. EXPORTERS.  SMALL SUPPLIERS, HOWEVER, MAY HAVE GREATER 
OPPORTUNITIES IN THE LOCAL MARKET BECAUSE IT IS OFTEN OVERLOOKED BY 
MAJOR EXPORTERS.  BECAUSE OF ITS PROXIMITY TO AND TRANSPORTATION LINKS 
BETWEEN THE UNITED STATES AND BELIZE, U.S. SUPPLIERS HAVE A DISTINCT 
ADVANTAGE OVER EUROPEAN AND FAR EASTERN COMPETITION. 
 
MOST AMERICANS FIND IT RELATIVELY EASY TO DO BUSINESS IN BELIZE.  THE 
OFFICIAL LANGUAGE IS ENGLISH AND THE EXCHANGE RATE IS STABLE.  THE 
GOVERNMENT ALLOWS FOREIGN INVESTMENT AND FULL REPATRIATION OF CAPITAL 
AND PROFITS.  INTERNATIONAL TELECOMMUNICATIONS ARE EXCELLENT AND 
BUSINESS SERVICES SUCH AS ACCOUNTANTS AND ATTORNEYS ARE READILY 
AVAILABLE. 
 
AS STIPULATED IN THE GOVERNMENT'S INVESTMENT CODE, THERE ARE CERTAIN 
AREAS THAT ARE NOT OPEN TO FOREIGN PRIVATE INVESTMENT, INCLUDING 
MERCHANDISING (DISTRIBUTIVE TRADES), FISHING INSIDE THE BARRIER REEF, 
SUGAR CANE CULTIVATION, INTERNAL TRANSPORTATION, AND RESTAURANTS AND 
BARS. 
 
SEVERAL CAPITAL PROJECTS ARE CURRENTLY UNDERWAY, INCLUDING THE 
CONSTRUCTION OF A NEW HOSPITAL BUILDING, A WATER AND SEWER SYSTEM IN SAN 
PEDRO, AMBERGRIS CAYE, THE CONSTRUCTION OF A MULTI-MILLION HYDROELECTRIC 
PROJECT BY A MAJOR U.S. COMPANY, AND, PARTICULARLY, THE USD 20 MILLION 
WORLD BANK-FUNDED BELIZE CITY INFRASTRUCTURE PROJECT.  IT IS ALSO 
EXPECTED THAT 20 MILES OF THE SOUTHERN HIGHWAY WILL THIS YEAR BE 
REHABILITATED AND PAVED AT A COST OF SOME USD 10 MILLION. 
 
COUNTRY COMMERCIAL GUIDES (CCGS) ARE AVAILABLE ON THE NATIONAL TRADE 
DATA BANK ON CD-ROM OR THROUGH THE INTERNET.  PLEASE CONTACT STAT-USA AT 
1-800-STAT-USA FOR MORE INFORMATION.  TO LOCATE COUNTRY COMMERCIAL 
GUIDES VIA THE INTERNET, PLEASE USE THE FOLLOWING WORLD-WIDE WEB 
ADDRESS: WWW.STAT-USA.GOV.  CCGS CAN ALSO BE ORDERED IN HARD COPY OR IN 
DISKETTE FROM THE NATIONAL TECHNICAL INFORMATION SERVICE (NTIS) AT 1-
800-553-NTIS. 
 
------------------------------- 
II. ECONOMIC TRENDS AND OUTLOOK 
------------------------------- 
 
MAJOR TRENDS AND OUTLOOK: 
 
WITH A CHANGE OF GOVERNMENT IN JUNE OF 1993, THE UNITED DEMOCRATIC PARTY 
(UDP) ADMINISTRATION, LED BY PRIME MINISTER MANUEL ESQUIVEL, RESUMED 
STRICT FISCAL AND MONETARY MANAGEMENT PRACTICES SIMILAR TO THOSE THE UDP 
ADMINISTRATION HAD IMPLEMENTED DURING ITS FIRST TERM IN OFFICE DURING 
1984-89.  A PRINCIPAL FEATURE OF UDP FISCAL POLICY IS REDUCED BORROWING 
BY GOVERNMENT 
-- FROM FOREIGN SOURCES AND THE DOMESTIC BANKING SYSTEM -- TO FINANCE 
CAPITAL DEVELOPMENT PROJECTS. 
 
AS A RESULT OF TIGHT FISCAL AND MONETARY POLICIES, THE PERFORMANCE OF 
THE BELIZEAN ECONOMY IN 1994 CAN BE CHARACTERIZED AS SLUGGISH.  THE 
GROSS DOMESTIC PRODUCT (GDP) LAST YEAR IS ESTIMATED AT USD 472.2 
MILLION, GIVING BELIZE A PER CAPITA INCOME OF APPROXIMATELY USD 2,238 -- 
HIGHER THAN MOST OF ITS CENTRAL AMERICAN NEIGHBORS.  REAL GDP GROWTH IN 
1994 STOOD AT 1.6 PERCENT, COMPARED TO 3.6 PERCENT IN 1993.  THIS TREND 
WAS LARGELY DUE TO TWO MAJOR FACTORS: TIGHTER FISCAL POLICIES ON 
GOVERNMENT'S PART AS IT SOUGHT TO CURTAIL GOVERNMENT SPENDING, AND THE 
WITHDRAWAL OF THE 1,800-MEMBER BRITISH GARRISON FROM BELIZE LAST 
OCTOBER.  EXPENDITURES BY THE GARRISON FOR LOCAL PURCHASES AND WAGES FOR 
BELIZEAN CIVILIAN SUPPORT STAFF ARE ESTIMATED TO HAVE AMOUNTED TO 4.0 
PERCENT OF GDP. 
 
WHILE THE RATE OF INFLATION INCREASED BY ALMOST 1 PERCENT FROM 1.4 
PERCENT IN 1993 TO 2.3 PERCENT LAST YEAR, THE TRADE DEFICIT WAS 
SIGNIFICANTLY REDUCED BY USD 38.3 MILLION FROM USD 143.5 MILLION TO USD 
105.2 MILLION DURING THIS SAME TIME PERIOD.  BELIZE'S EXTERNAL DEBT OVER 
THE LAST FIVE YEARS HAS INCREASED BY ABOUT 35 PERCENT.  LAST YEAR, THE 
EXTERNAL PUBLIC DEBT ROSE BY USD 12.5 MILLION TO USD 180.4 MILLION. 
 
THE BELIZEAN ECONOMY IS UNLIKELY TO SOON REGAIN THE HIGH GROWTH RATES OF 
1986-1992.  THE RATE OF ECONOMIC GROWTH FOR 1995 WILL BE LARGELY 
DEPENDENT UPON THE BALANCE OF PAYMENTS SITUATION, WHICH IN TURN DEPENDS 
UPON WORLD COMMODITY PRICES, CONTINUED GROWTH IN THE GLOBAL ECONOMY, AND 
PREFERENTIAL TRADING AGREEMENTS SUCH AS THE CARIBBEAN BASIN INITIATIVE 
AND THE LOME CONVENTION. 
 
CITRUS EARNINGS ARE PROJECTED TO INCREASE 50 PERCENT IN 1995, WHILE 
SUGAR CANE PRODUCTION IS NOT EXPECTED TO SHOW ANY SIGNIFICANT GROWTH, 
PARTLY BECAUSE CANE FARMERS ARE INCREASINGLY SEEING THE ECONOMIC 
BENEFITS OF CROP DIVERSIFICATION.  FOR INSTANCE, THE PRODUCTION OF 
PAPAYAS OF THE SOLO VARIETY IN NORTHERN BELIZE MAY REACH ONE MILLION 10-
POUND BOXES DURING THE 1995-96 SEASON. 
 
BANANA PRODUCTION WILL ALSO INCREASE IN 1995 AS THE INDUSTRY BEGINS TO 
ENJOY THE BENEFITS OF MAJOR REHABILITATION EFFORTS ON SOME FARMS AND 
FROM THE INCREASE OF 15,000 METRIC TONS IN THE EUROPEAN UNION QUOTA.  
MARINE PRODUCTS SHOULD ALSO CONTINUE TO INCREASE AS THE AQUACULTURE 
SUBSECTOR, PRIMARILY SHRIMP FARMING, EXPANDS. 
 
MORE AGGRESSIVE MARKETING AND PROMOTIONAL CAMPAIGNS BY THE LOCAL TOURIST 
BOARD IN EUROPEAN COUNTRIES SHOULD RESULT IN MORE TOURIST ARRIVALS IN 
1995, PARTICULARLY DURING THE TYPICALLY SLACK MONTHS OF JULY, AUGUST, 
AND SEPTEMBER. 
 
ON THE OTHER SIDE, THE WITHDRAWAL OF THE BRITISH FORCES IN BELIZE WILL 
CONTINUE TO HAVE A MAJOR IMPACT ON THE BELIZEAN ECONOMY LARGELY BECAUSE 
THE GOB WILL CONTINUE TO ALLOCATE A LARGER SHARE OF ITS BUDGET 
ALLOCATION TO DEFENCE PURPOSES, THUS DEPRIVING OTHER SECTORS OF THE 
ECONOMY OF BADLY NEEDED REVENUE.  THE USAID MISSION IS SCHEDULED TO 
CLOSE IN SEPTEMBER, 1996. 
 
PRINCIPAL GROWTH SECTORS: 
 
PRIMARY ACTIVITIES: THE COMBINATION OF AGRICULTURE, FORESTRY AND 
LOGGING, FISHING AND MINING ACCOUNTED FOR 20 PERCENT OF TOTAL GDP AND 25 
PERCENT OF EMPLOYMENT LAST YEAR.  AGRICULTURE ALONE, HOWEVER, 
CONTRIBUTED 15 PERCENT OF TOTAL GDP.  AGRICULTURAL EXPORTS, INCLUDING 
CANE SUGAR, CITRUS CONCENTRATE, BANANAS AND MARINE PRODUCTS, ACCOUNTED 
FOR 73 PERCENT OF TOTAL DOMESTIC EXPORTS IN 1994, REPRESENTING A 1.6 
PERCENT INCREASE OVER 1993'S FIGURES.  IN THE LONG RUN, THE GROWING MOVE 
TOWARD FREER TRADE (NAFTA, GATT, EU) COULD ERODE SOME OF THE 
PREFERENTIAL MARKET ARRANGEMENTS BELIZE CURRENTLY ENJOYS, THEREBY 
FORCING IMPORTANT INDUSTRIES (ESPECIALLY SUGAR, CITRUS AND BANANAS) TO 
LOOK FOR WAYS TO BECOME MORE COMPETITIVE IN THE POST-NAFTA WORLD. 
 
SERVICE ACTIVITIES: TOURISM CONTINUES TO TAKE ON INCREASING ECONOMIC 
IMPORTANCE FOR BELIZE.  REVENUES FROM TOURISM INCREASED BY ABOUT USD 5.7 
MILLION, FROM USD 69.3 MILLION IN 1993 TO USD 75 MILLION LAST YEAR.  
THIS GROWTH MAKES TOURISM SECOND ONLY TO AGRICULTURE IN TERMS OF FOREIGN 
EXCHANGE EARNINGS.  TOURIST ARRIVALS IN 1994 INCREASED BY ABOUT 10 
PERCENT TO 118,000.  AS IN THE PAST, THE MAJORITY OF THE TOURISTS LAST 
YEAR CAME FROM THE U.S., FOLLOWED BY CANADIANS AND BRITISH.  THE NUMBER 
OF TOURIST ESTABLISHMENTS INCREASED BY 27 TO 330 HOTELS/RESORTS, WHILE 
THE NUMBER OF ROOMS INCREASED BY 161 TO 3,486 ROOMS LAST YEAR.   
 
SECONDARY ACTIVITY: A DECREASE OF 22.8 PERCENT IN GARMENT EXPORTS IN 
1994 CONTRIBUTED TO A DECLINE OF USD 2 MILLION IN EXPORT EARNINGS, FROM 
USD 20.3 MILLION TO 18.3 MILLION.  IN SPITE OF THIS, THE GARMENT 
MANUFACTURING SUBSECTOR REMAINS THE FOURTH SINGLE LARGEST FOREIGN 
EXCHANGE EARNER AFTER TOURISM (USD 75 MILLION), CANE SUGAR (USD 40.3 
MILLION), AND BANANAS (USD 23 MILLION). 
 
 
GOVERNMENT ROLE IN THE ECONOMY: 
 
ALTHOUGH THE GOVERNMENT OF BELIZE (GOB) FIVE-YEAR DEVELOPMENT PLAN 
(1994-1998) IS BEING DRAFTED AND SHOULD BE COMPLETED BY YEAR'S END, THE 
GOB IN MARCH OF LAST YEAR OUTLINED ITS MEDIUM- TERM ECONOMIC STRATEGY 
FOR SUSTAINABLE GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT IN A MORE LIBERALIZED WORLD 
ECONOMY.  OF HIGHEST PRIORITY IS THE GOB'S COMMITMENT TO INCREASE 
DOMESTIC SAVINGS AND INVESTMENT BY ELIMINATING THE FISCAL DEFICIT 
THROUGH EXPENDITURE RESTRAINT AND TAX REFORM.  IT ALSO SEEKS TO PURSUE A 
LIBERALIZED TRADE POLICY AND IMPROVE THE INCENTIVE FRAMEWORK FOR PRIVATE 
SECTOR INVESTMENT.   
 
TO THIS END, THE GOB, THROUGH THE MINISTRY OF ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, HAS 
ESTABLISHED A "NATIONAL ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AGENDA" THROUGH WHICH THE 
GOVERNMENT INTENDS TO PROMOTE APPROPRIATE MACROECONOMIC POLICIES WHICH 
WILL CREATE A PRO-PRIVATE SECTOR ECONOMIC ENVIRONMENT.  THE GOB HOPES TO 
FOMENT DIALOGUE AND GENERATE CONCRETE PROPOSALS FOR STRENGTHENING THE 
BELIZEAN ECONOMY.  TO ACHIEVE THIS, THREE ECONOMIC COMMITTEES HAVE BEEN 
FORMED TO FLESH OUT A NATIONAL ECONOMIC AGENDA FOR THE GOB TO FOLLOW.  
THESE COMMITTEES, COMPRISED OF REPRESENTATIVES OF BOTH THE PUBLIC AND 
PRIVATE SECTORS AND NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS (NGO), INCLUDE THE 
NATIONAL SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC COUNCIL (NASEC), THE DEBT MANAGEMENT 
COMMITTEE, AND THE NATIONAL ECONOMIC ADVISORY TASK FORCE (NEATF). 
 
NASEC, AN ADVISORY AND COORDINATING BODY, IS MANDATED TO PROVIDE AN 
INTER-MINISTERIAL AND PUBLIC AND PRIVATE SECTOR FORUM TO CONSIDER THE 
PREPARATION AND IMPLEMENTATION OF THE 1994-1998 DEVELOPMENT PLAN.  IT 
ALSO HOLDS REAL POWER IN THAT IT CAN ASSIGN PRIORITY RANKING OF PROJECTS 
AND APPROVE OR REJECT CAPITAL DEVELOPMENT PROJECT PROPOSALS ON BEHALF OF 
THE GOB.  GIVEN ITS INFLUENCE OVER PROJECTS, THE NASEC IS INTENDED TO 
PROVIDE OVERSIGHT AND SCREEN PROJECTS TO ENSURE THAT THOSE APPROVED ARE 
IN ACCORD WITH BELIZE'S DEVELOPMENT PLAN. THE GOB INTENDS TO USE THE 
NASEC TO ADVISE IT ON POLICY OBJECTIVES AND STRATEGIES TO BE 
INCORPORATED IN THE NEW FIVE-YEAR PLAN. 
 
THE ROLE OF THE DEBT MANAGEMENT COMMITTEE IS TO ADVISE THE GOB ON THE 
PROPER MIX OF MONETARY POLICY AND FISCAL POLICY IN LIGHT OF THE 
GOVERNMENT'S REQUIREMENTS REGARDING PUBLIC, FOREIGN AND DOMESTIC DEBT 
OBLIGATIONS.  THE COMMITTEE IS ALSO MANDATED TO REVIEW PENDING PUBLIC 
WORKS PROPOSALS WHICH REQUIRE THE CONTRACTING OF NEW DEBT OBLIGATIONS, 
THE IDEA BEING TO LIMIT THE AMOUNT OF DEBT, PARTICULARLY FOREIGN DEBT, 
INCURRED THROUGH HIGH INTEREST, COMMERCIAL RATE LOANS. 
 
THE NEATF, ON THE OTHER HAND, IS TASKED WITH THE RESPONSIBILITY OF 
ADDRESSING BELIZE'S NEW TRADING RELATIONSHIPS IN LIGHT OF THE 
RATIFICATION OF NAFTA, THE GATT ACCORD REACHED IN GENEVA, AND THE 
ESTABLISHMENT OF THE EUROPEAN UNION.  NEATF WILL ALSO STUDY THE OPTIONS 
AND OPPORTUNITIES FOR RESTRUCTURING AND REORIENTING THE ECONOMY GIVEN 
THE FUTURE LOSS OF PREFERENTIAL MARKETS, WORLDWIDE DEMAND FOR REDUCED 
TARIFFS AND IMPORT DUTIES, AND COMPETITION FROM NEIGHBORING COUNTRIES IN 
THE REGION. 
 
THE GOB HAS RECOGNIZED THE NEED TO FIND ALTERNATIVE SOURCES OF REVENUE 
BEYOND ITS CURRENT RELIANCE ON COLLECTION OF IMPORT DUTIES AND TAXES ON 
INTERNATIONAL TRADE.  RATHER THAN TAXING IMPORTS AND THE INPUTS OF 
PRODUCTIVE ENTERPRISES, THE GOB IS STUDYING TAX REFORM MEASURES FOCUSING 
ON TAXES ON BUSINESS PROFITS AND SALES IN SERVICES, AGRO-PROCESSING, AND 
LIGHT MANUFACTURING.   
 
IN KEEPING WITH ITS POLICY OF DIVESTING ITSELF OF INEFFICIENT PUBLIC 
UTILITIES, THE GOB HAS PRIVATIZED THE TELECOMMUNICATION AND ELECTRIC 
UTILITIES THROUGH THE SALE OF SHARES.  
 
ALONG WITH THE PRIVATIZATIONS, THE GOVERNMENT HAS ENCOURAGED THE 
FORMATION OF A LOCAL CAPITAL MARKET.  A COUNTER AT THE CENTRAL BANK HAS 
BEEN ESTABLISHED TO TRADE BELIZE TREASURY BILLS AND NOTES, BELIZE 
ELECTRICITY LIMITED (BEL) SHARES, CENTRAL BANK CONSTRUCTION BONDS, AND 
SHARES IN THE RECENTLY INTRODUCED BELIZE DEFENCE BONDS.  EVENTUALLY, 
OTHER LOCAL ENTERPRISES WILL BE ABLE TO RAISE MONEY BY ISSUING EQUITY OR 
DEBT INSTRUMENTS. 
 
BALANCE OF PAYMENTS SITUATION: 
 
THE TRADE DEFICIT WAS SIGNIFICANTLY REDUCED BY USD 38.3 MILLION FROM USD 
143.5 MILLION IN 1993 TO USD 105.2 MILLION LAST YEAR.  IN 1994, TOTAL 
DOMESTIC EXPORTS INCREASED BY USD 8.6 MILLION TO USD 127.5 MILLION, 
WHILE TOTAL RETAINED IMPORTS DECLINED BY USD 29.7 MILLION TO USD 232.7 
MILLION.  THE DECLINE IN IMPORTS WAS LARGELY DUE TO DECREASED PURCHASES 
OF CAPITAL ITEMS AND CONSUMABLE GOODS. 
 
INFRASTRUCTURE SITUATION: 
 
A MAJOR CONSTRAINT ON THE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT OF BELIZE CONTINUES TO BE 
THE AVAILABILITY OF POOR INFRASTRUCTURE.  LARGE TRACTS OF LAND WHICH 
WOULD BE SUITABLE FOR DEVELOPMENT ARE INACCESSIBLE DUE TO LACK OF ROADS, 
AND MANY EXISTING ROADS ARE IMPASSIBLE DURING THE RAINY SEASON.  DESPITE 
BELIZE'S RELATIVELY HIGH PER CAPITA INCOME, ITS SMALL ECONOMY HAS 
DIFFICULTY GENERATING SUFFICIENT CAPITAL AND INVESTMENT FOR 
INFRASTRUCTURE DEVELOPMENT AND ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION. 
 
ON THE OTHER HAND, INTERNATIONAL TRANSPORTATION IS RELATIVELY GOOD.  
PORTS IN BELIZE CITY, DANGRIGA, AND BIG CREEK HANDLE REGULARLY SCHEDULED 
SHIPPING FROM THE U.S. AND U.K. THOUGH DRAFT IS LIMITED TO A MAXIMUM OF 
10 FEET IN BELIZE CITY AND 15 FEET IN SOUTHERN PORTS. INTERNATIONAL AIR 
SERVICE IS PROVIDED BY AMERICAN, CONTINENTAL, AND TACA. 
 
 
 
 
-------------------------- 
III. POLITICAL ENVIRONMENT 
-------------------------- 
 
U.S. - BELIZE RELATIONS: 
 
THE UNITED STATES AND BELIZE TRADITIONALLY HAVE ENJOYED CLOSE AND 
CORDIAL RELATIONS SINCE THEY WERE ESTABLISHED IN THE 1930'S.  THE UNITED 
STATES IS BELIZE'S PRINCIPAL TRADING PARTNER AND MAJOR SOURCE OF 
INVESTMENT FUNDS AND IS ALSO HOME TO THE LARGEST BELIZEAN COMMUNITY 
OUTSIDE BELIZE (AN ESTIMATED 75,000 BELIZEANS LIVE IN THE UNITED 
STATES).  BECAUSE BELIZE'S ECONOMIC GROWTH AND ACCOMPANYING DEMOCRATIC 
POLITICAL STABILITY ARE IMPORTANT U.S. OBJECTIVES IN AN OFTEN TROUBLED 
REGION, BELIZE BENEFITS FROM THE CENTRAL AMERICAN AND CARIBBEAN BASIN 
INITIATIVE (CBI).  THROUGH AN ACTIVE USAID PROGRAM, THE UNITED STATES IS 
NOW THE LARGEST PROVIDER OF ECONOMIC ASSISTANCE TO BELIZE.  THE PEACE 
CORPS HAS 60 VOLUNTEERS IN COUNTRY.  AMERICAN INVESTMENT AND TOURISM ARE 
GROWING RAPIDLY.  THE U.S. COOPERATES WITH THE BELIZE GOVERNMENT IN THE 
FIGHT AGAINST ILLICIT NARCOTICS AND IS WORKING WITH THE GOVERNMENT TO 
REACH AGREEMENT ON A STOLEN CARS TREATY AND TO CONTROL THE FLOW OF 
ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS TO THE U.S. THROUGH BELIZE.  IN PUNTA GORDA, VOICE OF 
AMERICA OPERATES A MEDIUM-WAVE RADIO RELAY STATION WHICH BROADCASTS TO 
THE NEIGHBORING COUNTRIES OF HONDURAS, GUATEMALA, AND EL SALVADOR. 
 
MAJOR POLITICAL ISSUES AFFECTING BUSINESS CLIMATE: 
 
BECAUSE BELIZE IS A PARLIAMENTARY DEMOCRACY AND HAS TRADITIONALLY 
ENJOYED A STABLE POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC ENVIRONMENT, THERE ARE NO 
POLITICAL ISSUES THAT MIGHT AFFECT THE LOCAL BUSINESS CLIMATE.   PARTY 
PATRONAGE DOES HAVE SOME INFLUENCE ON LOCAL GOVERNMENT EXPENDITURES BUT 
NOT USUALLY ON FOREIGN INVESTMENTS.  BELIZE'S STATED POLICY OF 
ENCOURAGING NEW FOREIGN INVESTMENT HAS BEEN AN IMPORTANT FACTOR 
ATTRACTING CAPITAL FOR JOINT VENTURES.  ADDITIONALLY, IN ORDER TO 
STRENGTHEN ITS POTENTIAL FOR ECONOMIC AND POLITICAL DEVELOPMENT, BELIZE 
HAS SOUGHT TO BUILD CLOSER TIES WITH THE NEIGHBORING SPANISH-SPEAKING 
COUNTRIES OF CENTRAL AMERICA TO COMPLEMENT ITS HISTORICAL TIES TO THE 
ENGLISH-SPEAKING CARIBBEAN STATES.  BELIZE ESTABLISHED DIPLOMATIC 
RELATIONS WITH CUBA ON JULY 14, 1995. 
 
GOVERNMENT AND POLITICAL SYSTEM: 
 
BELIZE IS A PARLIAMENTARY DEMOCRACY ON THE WESTMINSTER MODEL AND IS A 
MEMBER OF THE COMMONWEALTH.  QUEEN ELIZABETH II IS HEAD OF STATE AND IS 
REPRESENTED IN THE COUNTRY BY GOVERNOR GENERAL DR. COLVILLE N. YOUNG, 
SR., A BELIZEAN AND BELIZE'S SECOND GOVERNOR GENERAL.  THE PRIMARY 
EXECUTIVE ORGAN OF GOVERNMENT IS THE CABINET, LED BY A PRIME MINISTER 
(HEAD OF GOVERNMENT).  CABINET MINISTERS ARE MEMBERS OF THE MAJORITY 
POLITICAL PARTY IN PARLIAMENT AND USUALLY HOLD ELECTED SEATS IN THE 
NATIONAL ASSEMBLY CONCURRENTLY WITH THEIR CABINET POSITIONS. 
 
THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY CONSISTS OF A HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES AND A 
SENATE.  THE 29 MEMBERS OF THE HOUSE ARE POPULARLY ELECTED TO A MAXIMUM 
5-YEAR TERM.  OF THE SENATE'S EIGHT MEMBERS, FIVE ARE ELECTED BY THE 
PRIME MINISTER, TWO BY THE LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION, AND ONE BY THE 
GOVERNOR GENERAL. 
 
THE BELIZE GOVERNMENT IS CONTROLLED BY A COALITION OF THE UNITED 
DEMOCRATIC PARTY (UDP) AND THE NATIONAL ALLIANCE FOR BELIZEAN RIGHTS 
(NABR), WHICH WON 16 OF THE 29 SEATS IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES ON 
JUNE 30, 1993, DESPITE HAVING GAINED ONLY 49 PERCENT OF THE TOTAL 
POPULATION VOTE.  THE PEOPLE'S UNITED PARTY (PUP) WON THE OTHER 13 
SEATS.  THE PUP HAD GOVERNED BELIZE FROM SEPTEMBER 1989 UNTIL JUNE 1993, 
AND THE UDP FROM DECEMBER 1984 UNTIL SEPTEMBER 1989.  BEFORE 1984, THE 
PUP HAD DOMINATED THE ELECTORAL SCENE FOR OVER 30 YEARS AND WAS THE 
PARTY IN POWER WHEN BELIZE BECAME INDEPENDENT IN 1981. 
 
---------------------------------------- 
IV. MARKETING U.S. PRODUCTS AND SERVICES 
---------------------------------------- 
 
DISTRIBUTION AND SALES CHANNELS: 
 
BECAUSE THE LOCAL MARKET IS TOO SMALL, THE BEST WAY FOR AMERICAN 
EXPORTERS TO PENETRATE THE BELIZEAN MARKET IS TO SEEK LOCAL IMPORTERS 
AND WHOLESALERS WHO WOULD GENERALLY ACT AS THEIR AGENTS/DISTRIBUTORS IN 
BELIZE.  A TYPICAL DISTRIBUTION CHANNEL FOR ALMOST ANY AMERICAN-MADE 
PRODUCT IN BELIZE INVOLVES THE U.S. MANUFACTURER OR DISTRIBUTOR, THE 
LOCAL IMPORTER OR WHOLESALER (WHO ALMOST ALWAYS DOES THE DISTRIBUTION), 
THE RETAILER, AND FINALLY THE BUYER/CONSUMER. 
 
USE OF AGENTS/DISTRIBUTORS -- FINDING A PARTNER: 
 
CONSISTENT WITH U.S. DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE GUIDELINES, THE ECONOMIC AND 
COMMERCIAL SECTION OF THE U.S. EMBASSY IN BELIZE CAN ASSIST INTERESTED 
AMERICAN COMPANIES FIND AGENTS AND DISTRIBUTORS IN THE COUNTRY THROUGH 
THE AGENT/DISTRIBUTOR SERVICE (A/DS).  THE EMBASSY ALSO PROVIDES LISTS 
OF THE MAJOR LOCAL FIRMS IN A PARTICULAR INDUSTRY TO INTERESTED AMERICAN 
FIRMS UPON REQUEST. 
 
FRANCHISING: 
 
FRANCHISING IN BELIZE IS LIMITED TO TWO WELL-KNOWN BRAND NAMES: COCA-
COLA AND PEPSI. 
 
DIRECT MARKETING: 
 
DIRECT MARKETING IN BELIZE BY U.S. COMPANIES IS ALMOST NON-EXISTENT.  
NORMALLY, THE REPRESENTATIVE OF THE AMERICAN FIRM IN BELIZE PERFORMS ALL 
THE LOCAL MARKETING FUNCTIONS. 
 
 
 
 
JOINT VENTURES/LICENSING: 
 
THE GOVERNMENT WELCOMES FOREIGN CAPITAL IN THE DOMESTIC ECONOMY AND 
SUPPORTS JOINT VENTURE AND PARTNERSHIP INVESTMENTS WHENEVER POSSIBLE AS 
THE PREFERRED MECHANISM FOR THE EMPLOYMENT OF SUCH CAPITAL. 
 
STEPS TO ESTABLISH A BUSINESS OFFICE IN BELIZE: 
 
THE FOLLOWING IS TAKEN FROM THE LAWS OF BELIZE, CHAPTER 206, PART IX.  
IT APPLIES TO FOREIGN COMPANIES WISHING TO ESTABLISH AN OFFICE IN 
BELIZE. 
 
1.  OVERSEAS COMPANIES WHICH ESTABLISH A PLACE OF BUSINESS WITHIN BELIZE 
SHALL, WITHIN ONE MONTH OF THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE PLACE OF BUSINESS, 
DELIVER THE FOLLOWING TO THE REGISTRAR FOR REGISTRATION: 
 
     - A CERTIFIED COPY OF THE CHARTER, STATUTES OR MEMORANDUM AND 
ARTICLES OF THE COMPANY OR OTHER INSTRUMENT CONSTITUTING OR DEFINING THE 
CONSTITUTION OF THE COMPANY, AND IF THE INSTRUMENT IS NOT WRITTEN IN THE 
ENGLISH LANGUAGE, A CERTIFIED TRANSLATION THEREOF; 
 
     - A LIST OF THE DIRECTORS AND SECRETARY OF THE COMPANY CONTAINING 
THE PARTICULARS: 
 
          - IN THE CASE OF AN INDIVIDUAL, HIS PRESENT CHRISTIAN NAME AND 
SURNAME AND ANY FORMER CHRISTIAN NAME AND SURNAME, HIS USUAL RESIDENTIAL 
ADDRESS, HIS NATIONALITY AND HIS BUSINESS OCCUPATION; 
 
          - IN THE CASE OF A CORPORATION, ITS CORPORATE NAME AND 
REGISTERED OR PRINCIPAL OFFICE; AND 
 
          - WITH RESPECT TO THE SECRETARY, OR, WHERE THERE ARE JOINT 
SECRETARIES, WITH RESPECT TO EACH OF THEM, HIS PRESENT CHRISTIAN NAME 
AND SURNAME, ANY FORMER CHRISTIAN NAME AND SURNAME AND HIS USUAL 
RESIDENTIAL ADDRESS. 
 
     - THE NAMES AND ADDRESSES OF SOME ONE OR MORE PERSONS RESIDENT IN 
BELIZE AUTHORIZED TO ACCEPT ON BEHALF OF THE COMPANY SERVICE OF PROCESS 
AND ANY NOTICES REQUIRED TO BE SERVED ON THE COMPANY. 
 
2.  EVERY OVERSEAS COMPANY SHALL, IN EVERY CALENDAR YEAR, FILE WITH THE 
REGISTRAR SUCH A STATEMENT IN THE FORM OF A BALANCE SHEET AS WOULD, IF 
IT WERE A COMPANY INCORPORATED IN BELIZE AND HAVING A SHARE CAPITAL, BE 
REQUIRED TO BE INCLUDED IN THE ANNUAL SUMMARY. 
 
3.  EVERY OVERSEAS COMPANY SHALL DO THE FOLLOWING: 
 
     - IN EVERY PROSPECTUS INVITING SUBSCRIPTIONS FOR ITS SHARES OR 
DEBENTURES IN BELIZE, STATE THE COUNTRY IN WHICH THE COMPANY IS 
INCORPORATED; 
 
     - CONSPICUOUSLY EXHIBIT ON EVERY PLACE WHERE IT CARRIES ON BUSINESS 
IN BELIZE THE NAME OF THE COMPANY AND THE COUNTRY IN WHICH THE COMPANY 
IS INCORPORATED; 
 
     - CAUSE THE NAME OF THE COMPANY AND OF THE COUNTRY IN WHICH IT IS 
INCORPORATED TO BE STATED IN LEGIBLE CHARACTERS IN ALL BILL HEADS AND 
LETTER PAPER, AND IN ALL NOTICES AND OTHER OFFICIAL PUBLICATIONS OF THE 
COMPANY; AND 
 
     - IF THE LIABILITY OF THE MEMBERS OF THE COMPANY IS LIMITED, CAUSE 
NOTICE OF THAT FACT TO BE STATED IN LEGIBLE CHARACTERS IN EVERY SUCH 
PROSPECTUS AS AFORESAID AND IN ALL BILL HEADS, LETTER PAPER, NOTICES AND 
OTHER OFFICIAL PUBLICATIONS OF THE COMPANY IN BELIZE, AND TO BE AFFIXED 
ON EVERY PLACE WHERE IT CARRIES ON BUSINESS. 
 
IN ADDITION, FOREIGN COMPANIES ARE REQUIRED TO PAY A REGISTRATION FEE OF 
BZDOLS 50 AT THE OFFICE OF THE REGISTRAR GENERAL, SUPREME COURT 
BUILDING, REGENT STREET, BELIZE CITY, BELIZE. 
 
SELLING FACTORS/TECHNIQUES: 
 
MOST MAJOR IMPORTERS AND WHOLESALERS EMPLOY LOCAL COMMISSION AGENTS WHO 
SELL AND DELIVER THE PRODUCT TO THE RETAILER.  PERSONAL CONTACT WITH THE 
CLIENTELE, THEREFORE, IS ALWAYS RECOMMENDED. 
 
ADVERTISING AND TRADE PROMOTION: 
 
ADVERTISING IN BELIZE IS DONE MAINLY THROUGH RADIO, NEWSPAPERS, 
MAGAZINES, AND TELEVISION.  THE ECONOMIC AND COMMERCIAL SECTION OF THE 
U.S. EMBASSY IN BELIZE HOSTS AT LEAST ONE CATALOG SHOW OF AMERICAN GOODS 
AND SERVICES YEARLY.  THE FOLLOWING IS A LIST OF THE MAJOR LOCAL 
NEWSPAPERS AND MAGAZINES: 
 
AMANDALA PRESS 
3304 PARTRIDGE STREET 
BELIZE CITY, BELIZE 
TEL: 501-2-77276 
FAX: 501-2-75934 
ATTN: MR. GLENN TILLETT 
 
THE BELIZE TIMES PRESS 
3 QUEEN STREET 
BELIZE CITY, BELIZE 
TEL: 501-2-45757 
FAX: 501-2-31940 
ATTN: MS. AMALIA MAI 
 
 
THE REPORTER 
147 ALLENBY AND WEST STREETS 
BELIZE CITY, BELIZE 
TEL: 501-2-72503 
FAX: 501-2-78278 
ATTN: MR. HARRY LAWRENCE 
 
THE PEOPLE'S PULSE 
7 TANOOMAH STREET 
BELIZE CITY, BELIZE 
TEL: 501-2-77035 
FAX: 501-2-75168 
ATTN: WILLIAM YSAGUIRRE 
 
SAN PEDRO SUN 
P.O. BOX 35 
AMBERGRIS CAYE, BELIZE, C.A. 
TEL: 501-26-2070 
FAX: 501-26-2905 
ATTN: BRUCE COLLINS 
 
BELIZE CURRENTS 
2519 SUMMER AVENUE 
MEMPHIS, TN 38112 
FAX: 901-324-7328 
ATTN: MR. ANDREW PINCON 
 
BELIZE REVIEW 
7 CHURCH STREET 
BELIZE CITY, BELIZE 
TEL: 501-2-74892 
FAX: 501-2-77786 
 
PRICING PRODUCT: 
 
CERTAIN ITEMS INCLUDING BASIC FOOD STUFFS, BUTANE GAS, AND FUEL HAVE 
GOVERNMENT PRICE CONTROLS (SUPPLIES CONTROL REGULATIONS NO. 3, 1987).   
 
SALES SERVICE/CUSTOMER SUPPORT: 
 
SALES SERVICE IN BELIZE IS LIMITED TO BUSINESS ESTABLISHMENTS DEALING 
WITH ELECTRONIC EQUIPMENT, INCLUDING PHOTOCOPIERS, TYPEWRITERS, 
COMPUTERS, AND AIR CONDITIONERS. 
 
SELLING TO THE GOVERNMENT: 
 
SUPPLIERS OF U.S. PRODUCTS AND SERVICES GENERALLY HAVE NO DIFFICULTY 
SELLING TO THE GOB.  IN MANY CASES, HOWEVER, SUCCESS OF THE SUPPLIERS IN 
SELLING TO THE GOVERNMENT DEPENDS ON THEIR POLITICAL AFFILIATION OR 
PERSONAL CONTACTS WITH THE GOVERNING PARTY.  LOCAL SUPPLIERS WHO ARE NOT 
MEMBERS OF THE PARTY OF THE DAY MAY EXPERIENCE LATE PAYMENTS.  NUMEROUS 
OPPORTUNITIES EXIST FOR SELLING TO GOB PROJECTS FUNDED BY MULTILATERAL 
FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS. 
 
PROTECTING YOUR PRODUCT FROM IPR INFRINGEMENT: 
 
BELIZE IS PROVISIONALLY A PARTY TO THE BERNE CONVENTION ON COPYRIGHTS.  
BELIZEAN STATUTES GOVERNING PATENTS, DESIGNS, COPYRIGHTS, AND TRADEMARKS 
ARE BASED ON THE UNITED KINGDOM STATUTES WHICH PREVAIL THROUGHOUT THE 
ENGLISH-SPEAKING CARIBBEAN.  THE GOVERNMENT OF BELIZE HAS INTRODUCED 
LEGISLATION TO UPDATE THE COPYRIGHTS LAW.  VIOLATION OF COPYRIGHT AND 
TRADEMARK DOES OCCUR, BUT THE LEGAL SYSTEM OFFERS PROTECTIONS AND 
RECOURSE TO AGGRIEVED PARTIES. 
 
NEED FOR A LOCAL ATTORNEY: 
 
IT IS ADVISABLE TO SEEK LEGAL ASSISTANCE WHEN PLANNING TO DO BUSINESS IN 
BELIZE.  THE EMBASSY CAN PROVIDE A COMPREHENSIVE LIST OF THE MAJOR LAW 
FIRMS ON REQUEST, AS WELL AS A LIST OF LOCAL CPAS. 
 
-------------------------------------------- 
V. LEADING TRADE PROSPECTS FOR U.S. BUSINESS 
-------------------------------------------- 
 
OVER THE PAST DECADE THE PERCENTAGE OF TOTAL IMPORTS PURCHASED FROM THE 
U.S. HAS GROWN FROM 37.5 PERCENT IN 1982 TO 56.6 PERCENT IN 1992.  IN 
1994, BELIZE IMPORTED USD 138.1 MILLION WORTH OF GOODS FROM THE U.S., OF 
WHICH 90.4 PERCENT WAS COMPRISED OF MANUFACTURED GOODS (USD 47.3 
MILLION), MACHINERY AND TRANSPORT EQUIPMENT (USD 46 MILLION), FOOD AND 
LIVE ANIMALS (USD 19.3 MILLION), AND CHEMICALS AND RELATED PRODUCTS (USD 
12.3 MILLION). 
 
WITH A LIMITED LOCAL MANUFACTURING INDUSTRY, BEST PROSPECTS FOR U.S. 
EXPORTS TO BELIZE, THEREFORE, INCLUDE THE FOLLOWING: 
 
- FOOD PROCESSING AND PACKAGING EQUIPMENT:  THE BELIZE GOVERNMENT 
CONSIDERS THE FOOD PRODUCTION SECTOR AS ONE OF ITS TOP PRIORITIES FOR 
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT.   THE LOCAL DEMAND FOR FOOD PROCESSING AND 
PACKAGING EQUIPMENT IS INCREASING DUE TO LOCAL AND FOREIGN INVESTMENT IN 
FOOD PRODUCTION. 
 
- CONSUMER GOODS:  BELIZE IMPORTS MOST OF ITS CONSUMABLE AND DURABLE 
GOODS FROM THE U.S.  LAST YEAR, FOR INSTANCE, BELIZE IMPORTED USD 138.1 
MILLION WORTH OF GOODS (53.1 PERCENT OF TOTAL IMPORTS) FROM THE U.S.  
BELIZE'S CLOSE PROXIMITY TO THE UNITED STATES AND TRANSPORTATION LINKS 
BETWEEN THE TWO COUNTRIES GIVE U.S. SUPPLIERS A DISTINCT ADVANTAGE OVER 
EUROPEAN AND FAR EASTERN COMPETITION. 
   
- NEW PRODUCTS:  WITH A LIMITED MANUFACTURING INDUSTRY, BELIZE HAS 
TRADITIONALLY IMPORTED MOST OF ITS MANUFACTURED GOODS FROM THE U.S.  
BECAUSE THERE ARE SEVERAL LOCAL TELEVISION STATIONS THAT BROADCAST U.S. 
TELEVISION PROGRAMS, COMPLETE WITH COMMERCIALS FOR U.S. PRODUCTS, DEMAND 
FOR U.S. PRODUCTS IS HIGH AND LIKELY TO INCREASE. 
 
------------------------------------ 
VI.  TRADE REGULATIONS AND STANDARDS 
------------------------------------ 
 
TRADE AND INVESTMENT BARRIERS: 
 
THE GOB CURRENTLY RAISES MORE THAN 60 PERCENT OF ITS REVENUES FROM TAXES 
ON INTERNATIONAL TRADE, PRIMARILY IMPORT DUTIES.  THE BASIC IMPORT 
TARIFF, WHICH IS BASED ON THE CARICOM COMMON EXTERNAL TARIFF (CET), 
RANGES UP TO 45 PERCENT AND AVERAGES 26 PERCENT.  IN ADDITION, THERE IS 
A 14 PERCENT STAMP DUTY AND VARIABLE REVENUE REPLACEMENT DUTY.  A 
SEPARATE LIST OF ITEMS WHICH REQUIRE IMPORT LICENSES EXISTS TO PROTECT 
CERTAIN DOMESTIC INDUSTRIES.  THIS LIST INCLUDES SUGAR, CITRUS, FLOUR, 
MEATS, JAMS/JELLIES, PEPPER SAUCE, PASTA, MATCHES, AND PEANUT BUTTER. 
 
IN AN EFFORT TO REDUCE THIS CURRENT DEPENDENCE ON IMPORT TAXES, THE GOB 
INTRODUCED IN 1994 NEW MEASURES TO GENERATE BADLY-NEEDED REVENUE.  FOR 
INSTANCE, FIRMS, COMPANIES, PROFESSIONALS AND OTHER SELF-EMPLOYED 
PERSONS EARNING MORE THAN USD 1,000 MONTHLY ARE REQUIRED TO CONTRIBUTE 
THEIR SHARE TO THE TAX REVENUES THROUGH A GROSS RECEIPTS TAX (GRT) ON 
BUSINESS PROCEEDS. 
 
THE GOB'S INVESTMENT POLICY IS CODIFIED IN THE BELIZE INVESTMENT CODE, 
WHICH SETS OUT THE DEVELOPMENT PRIORITIES FOR THE COUNTRY.  THE CODE IS 
APPLICABLE EQUALLY TO FOREIGN AND LOCAL INVESTORS.  THERE ARE, HOWEVER, 
CERTAIN AREAS THAT ARE RESERVED EXCLUSIVELY FOR NATIONALS. 
 
CUSTOMS VALUATION: 
 
THE BELIZE CUSTOMS SERVICE GENERALLY USES THE ORIGINAL COMMERCIAL 
INVOICES AND PRODUCT CATALOGS TO DETERMINE THE VALUE OF GOODS COMING 
INTO THE COUNTRY.  FOR INSTANCE, THE VALUATION UNIT OF THE CUSTOMS 
DEPARTMENT USES THE U.S. NATIONAL AUTOMOBILE DEALERS ASSOCIATION 
(N.A.D.A.) PUBLICATION TO VALUATE USED VEHICLES BEING IMPORTED INTO 
BELIZE.  HOWEVER, THERE ARE OCCASIONAL REPORTS OF REQUESTS FOR BRIBES IN 
ORDER TO FACILITATE LOWER VALUATIONS. 
 
IMPORT LICENSES: 
 
CERTAIN GOODS REQUIRE IMPORT LICENSES PRIOR TO IMPORTATION INTO BELIZE.  
THE LIST INCLUDES BEANS, SUGAR, CITRUS, FLOUR, MEATS, JAMS/JELLIES, 
PEPPER SAUCE, MATCHES, PEANUT BUTTER, MACARONI, SPAGHETTI, SOAP, TOILET 
PAPER, BEER, AERATED BEVERAGES, FUEL, BROOMS, BOATS, GUNS AND 
AMMUNITION.  AS PART OF ITS MEDIUM-TERM ECONOMIC STRATEGY, THE GOB WILL 
AIM TO LIBERALIZE ITS TRADE REGIME THROUGH POLICY REFORMS, INCLUDING 
REMOVAL OF THE TRADE LICENSES REGIME. 
 
 
 
EXPORT CONTROLS: 
 
CERTAIN PRODUCTS ALSO REQUIRE EXPORT LICENSES PRIOR TO EXPORTATION.  THE 
LIST INCLUDES LIVE ANIMALS (EXCLUDING PETS), FISH, CRUSTACEANS AND 
MOLLUSC (EXCLUDING AQUACULTURED SPECIES), LOGS, LUMBER, SUGAR, CITRUS 
FRUITS, AND BEANS. 
 
IMPORT/EXPORT DOCUMENTATION: 
 
BOTH IMPORTERS AND EXPORTERS MUST OBTAIN THE APPROPRIATE PERMITS PRIOR 
TO IMPORTING INTO OR EXPORTING FROM BELIZE.  IN ADDITION, IMPORTERS ARE 
REQUIRED TO SUBMIT ALL ORIGINAL COMMERCIAL INVOICES TO THE CUSTOMS 
DEPARTMENT.  IN THE CASE OF PEOPLE TAKING ANIMALS (INCLUDING PETS) AND 
AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTS FROM BELIZE, PHYTOSANITARY CERTIFICATES ISSUED BY 
THE MINISTRY OF AGRICULTURE MUST ACCOMPANY THE EXPORT PERMITS. 
 
TEMPORARY ENTRY: 
 
THE BELIZE CUSTOMS SERVICE PROVIDES FOR TEMPORARY ENTRY OR TRANSIT OF 
CERTAIN ITEMS INTO BELIZE PROVIDING THE PRODUCTS ARE SHIPPED OUT AGAIN.  
THE PRODUCTS MUST NOT BE MODIFIED OR TRANSFORMED WHILE IN COUNTRY.  THE 
PRODUCTS WOULD GENERALLY ENTER DUTY-FREE.  IF HOWEVER, THE IMPORTER 
WISHES TO SELL THE PRODUCT LOCALLY, ALL NECESSARY DUTIES WILL HAVE TO BE 
PAID AT THE CUSTOMS DEPARTMENT. 
 
LABELLING/MARKING REQUIREMENTS: 
 
LEGISLATION DEALING WITH LABELLING OR MARKING REQUIREMENTS OF LOCALLY 
PRODUCED OR IMPORTED GOODS ARE STILL IN THE DRAFTING STAGE.  BELIZE, 
HOWEVER, GENERALLY IMPORTS GOODS THAT HAVE ALREADY SATISFIED THE 
EXPORTING COUNTRY'S PRODUCT STANDARDS AND REQUIREMENTS. 
 
PROHIBITED IMPORTS: 
 
CERTAIN GOODS ARE NOT ALLOWED INTO THE COUNTRY UNLESS THEY ORIGINATE 
FROM CARICOM STATES.  THE LIST INCLUDES PEANUT BUTTER, JAM, JELLIES, 
MATCHES, PASTA, BEANS, RICE, WHEAT FLOUR, AND PEPPER SAUCE.  BEANS AND 
RICE, HOWEVER, LIKE MANY OTHER LOCALLY PRODUCED AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTS, 
ARE NOT ALLOWED TO BE IMPORTED FROM ANY COUNTRY WHENEVER THERE IS A 
SURPLUS OF THESE PRODUCTS ON THE DOMESTIC MARKET. 
 
STANDARDS: 
 
THE BELIZE BUREAU OF STANDARDS WAS ESTABLISHED IN 1992 TO PROMOTE AND 
ENCOURAGE THE MAINTENANCE AND USE OF CODES OF PRACTICE, SPECIFICATIONS 
AND STANDARDS.  THE BUREAU HAS BEEN RELATIVELY INACTIVE, HOWEVER, THUS, 
BELIZE IS YET TO FORMULATE STANDARDS SPECIFICATIONS. 
 
 
FREE TRADE ZONES/WAREHOUSES: 
 
BELIZE HAS LEGISLATION THAT ENABLES COMPANIES TO OPERATE WITHIN SPECIAL 
AND GENERAL EXPORT PROCESSING ZONES (EPZS) IN THE COUNTRY.  SPECIAL EPZS 
ARE ENCLOSED ONE-FACTORY OPERATIONS AND GENERAL EPZS ARE ENCLOSED MULTI-
FACTORY OPERATIONS.  BELIZE'S FIRST EPZ, CONSISTING OF 28.5 ACRES AND 
LOCATED JUST 8 MILES FROM THE MEXICAN BORDER IN THE NORTHERNMOST 
DISTRICT OF COROZAL, WAS OFFICIALLY OPENED IN JULY 1992. 
 
BELIZE'S MAIN EXPORT PROCESSING ZONE INCENTIVES INCLUDE THE FOLLOWING: 
 
     - FULL IMPORT AND EXPORT DUTY EXEMPTION.  IMPORT DUTY EXEMPTION 
EXTENDS TO ALL SPARE PARTS, OFFICE FURNITURE, CAPITAL EQUIPMENT, 
INTERMEDIATE GOODS AND SERVICE VEHICLES UTILIZED INSIDE THE EPZ. 
 
     - EXEMPTION FROM CAPITAL GAINS, PROPERTY AND LAND TAX, VALUE ADDED, 
SALES AND CONSUMPTION TAX, TRADE TURNOVER, EXCISE, FOREIGN EXCHANGE, AND 
TRANSFER TAX. 
 
     - A GUARANTEED INCOME TAX HOLIDAY OF 20 YEARS WITH AN OPTION TO 
EXTEND AND TO DEDUCT LOSSES FROM PROFITS FOLLOWING THE TAX HOLIDAY 
PERIOD. 
 
     - DIVIDEND TAX EXEMPTION IN PERPETUITY. 
 
     - OPPORTUNITY TO OPEN FOREIGN CURRENCY BANK ACCOUNTS IN-COUNTRY AND 
ABROAD. 
 
     - OPPORTUNITY TO SELL, LEASE, OR TRANSFER ITEMS, GOODS, AND 
SERVICES WITHIN AN EPZ. 
 
     - CUSTOMS INSPECTION AT THE ZONE FOR EXPEDIENCY. 
 
     - WORK PERMITS AT NO COST FOR ALL PROFESSIONAL AND TECHNICAL STAFF 
AND IF NECESSARY FOR A 20 PERCENT FOREIGN WORKFORCE. 
 
     - NO QUOTAS ON IMPORTS NOR ANY RAW MATERIAL RESTRICTIONS. 
 
     - NO TRADE, IMPORT, OR EXPORT LICENSE REQUIREMENTS. 
 
SPECIAL IMPORT PROVISIONS: NONE 
 
MEMBERSHIP IN FREE TRADE ARRANGEMENTS: 
 
APART FROM CARICOM, BELIZE DOES NOT BELONG TO ANY OTHER FREE TRADE 
ASSOCIATION.  IT DOES, HOWEVER, ENJOY PREFERENTIAL TREATMENT FROM THE 
U.S. UNDER THE CARIBBEAN BASIN INITIATIVE (CBI) AND LOME CONVENTION AS 
AN AFRICAN, PACIFIC, AND CARIBBEAN (APC) MEMBER STATE FOR ITS MAJOR 
AGRICULTURAL EXPORTS.  IT ALSO ENJOYS DUTY FREE ENTRY OF BELIZEAN GOODS 
INTO CANADA BASED ON COMMONWEALTH MEMBERSHIP. 
 
------------------------ 
VII.  INVESTMENT CLIMATE 
------------------------ 
 
OPENNESS TO FOREIGN INVESTMENT: 
 
THE BELIZE GOVERNMENT WELCOMES FOREIGN INVESTMENT AND NORMALLY 
ENCOURAGES PROJECTS WHICH RESULT IN INCREASED PRODUCTION, DOMESTIC 
INCOME, EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES, FOREIGN EXCHANGE EARNINGS AND SAVINGS, 
DIVERSIFICATION OF THE ECONOMIC BASE, AND THE TRANSFER OF TECHNOLOGY AND 
SKILLS.  FOREIGN INVESTORS ARE ELIGIBLE FOR THE SAME DEVELOPMENT 
CONCESSIONS THAT ARE AVAILABLE TO LOCAL INVESTORS.  THESE CONCESSIONS 
ARE VALID FOR UP TO TWENTY-FIVE YEARS FOR EXPORT INDUSTRIES OR FOR FIVE 
YEARS WITH AN OPTION FOR RENEWAL OF UP TO 10 YEARS FOR OTHER INDUSTRIES.  
THEY NORMALLY INCLUDE PROVISIONS FOR TAX HOLIDAYS AND RELIEF FROM IMPORT 
DUTIES ON CAPITAL EQUIPMENT AND RAW MATERIALS. 
 
THE GOVERNMENT ESPECIALLY WELCOMES FOREIGN INVESTMENT WITH A 
DEVELOPMENTAL CONTENT: TRANSFER OF TECHNOLOGY; FINANCIAL RESOURCES OR 
EXPERTISE; UTILIZATION OF INDIGENOUS RAW MATERIALS; GENERATION OF 
FOREIGN EXCHANGE EARNINGS OR SAVINGS; AND THE HIRING AND TRAINING OF 
LOCAL EMPLOYEES.  THE GOB ENCOURAGES INVESTMENT THROUGHOUT THE NATION, 
PARTICULARLY IN LESS-DEVELOPED AREAS, AND ENCOURAGES LOCAL PARTICIPATION 
IN PROJECTS WHERE POSSIBLE. 
 
A DEVELOPMENT CONCESSION IS NOT REQUIRED TO MAKE AN INVESTMENT IN 
BELIZE, BUT MANY INVESTORS FACTOR THESE CONCESSIONS INTO THEIR 
INVESTMENT DECISIONS.  THE DEVELOPMENT CONCESSION APPROVAL PROCESS TAKES 
ABOUT SIXTY DAYS AFTER APPLICATIONS HAVE BEEN SUBMITTED TO THE MINISTRY 
OF ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT.  APPLICATION FEES ARE COVERED IN A LATER 
SECTION. 
 
RECEIVING A DEVELOPMENT CONCESSION IS NOT THE ONLY STEP IN THE PROCESS 
OF INITIATING THE INVESTMENT.  INVESTORS MAY ALSO BE REQUIRED TO GET 
ADDITIONAL PERMITS OR LICENSES AND CUSTOMARILY FIND IT USEFUL TO 
MAINTAIN A DIALOGUE WITH GOB OFFICIALS TO ENSURE CONTINUED SUPPORT FOR 
THEIR EFFORTS. 
 
ADDITIONALLY, THE GOB HAS ENACTED LAWS WHICH ALLOW FOR THE INCORPORATION 
AND OPERATION OF INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS COMPANIES (IBC) AND PUBLIC 
INVESTMENT COMPANIES (PIC).  UNDER THIS INITIATIVE, IBC'S ENJOY A HOST 
OF INCENTIVES, INCLUDING TAX EXEMPTIONS ON THE FOLLOWING: 
 
     - ALL INCOME OF AN IBC; 
 
     - ALL DIVIDENDS OR OTHER DISTRIBUTIONS PAID BY AN IBC TO PERSONS 
RESIDENT IN BELIZE OR ELSEWHERE; 
 
     - ALL INTEREST, RENTS, ROYALTIES, COMPENSATION AND OTHER AMOUNTS 
PAID BY AN IBC TO PERSONS WHO ARE NOT RESIDENT IN BELIZE; 
 
     - CAPITAL GAINS REALIZED WITH RESPECT TO ANY SHARES, DEBT 
OBLIGATIONS OR OTHER SECURITIES OF AN IBC BY PERSONS WHO ARE NOT 
RESIDENT IN BELIZE. 
 
IN SOME CASES, IBC'S MAY BE EXEMPTED FROM THE PAYMENT OF STAMP DUTY ON 
ALL INTRUMENTS RELATING TO TRANSFERS OF ANY PROPERTY TO OR BY AN IBC AND 
ALL INSTRUMENTS RELATING TO TRANSACTIONS IN RESPECT OF THE SHARES, DEBT 
OBLIGATIONS OR OTHER SECURITIES OF AN IBC. 
 
UNLIKE IBC'S, PUBLIC INVESTMENT COMPANIES ARE ALLOWED TO DO BUSINESS IN 
BELIZE.  THE PIC'S ENJOY COMPLETE TAX AND DUTY EXEMPTIONS FOR A MAXIMUM 
PERIOD OF THIRTY YEARS. 
 
CONVERSION AND TRANSFER POLICIES: 
 
THE BELIZE INVESTMENT CODE GUARANTEES REPATRIATION OF INITIAL INVESTMENT 
AS WELL AS PROFITS AND RETURNS FROM CAPITAL GAINS.  THE GOB ALLOWS 
COMPANIES WITH PROPER DOCUMENTATION TO GO DIRECTLY TO THE COMMERCIAL 
BANKS TO REQUEST FOREIGN EXCHANGE.  TRANSFER OR SALE OF LAND IN EXCESS 
OF 10 ACRES TO OR FROM NON-BELIZEANS REQUIRES THE APPROVAL OF THE 
MINISTER OF LANDS, BUT THIS IS USUALLY NOT AN OBSTACLE. 
 
EXPROPRIATION AND COMPENSATION: 
 
THERE HAVE BEEN NO INSTANCES WHERE THE GOVERNMENT HAS EXPROPRIATED OR 
NATIONALIZED A FOREIGN COMPANY.  THERE HAVE BEEN, HOWEVER, CASES WHERE 
THE GOVERNMENT HAS APPROPRIATED LAND (WITH COMPENSATION) BELONGING TO 
FOREIGN AND/OR LOCAL INVESTORS. 
 
UNDER THE LAND ACQUISITION ORDINANCE, THE GOVERNMENT HAS THE RIGHT TO 
ACQUIRE PRIVATE LAND IN THE PUBLIC INTEREST.  THE LAW STIPULATES THAT 
THE GOVERNMENT WILL PROVIDE APPROPRIATE COMPENSATION, WITH THE VALUATION 
DETERMINED BY THE LANDS OFFICE BASED ON MARKET CONSIDERATIONS (I.E., 
MARKET VALUE). 
 
DISPUTE SETTLEMENT: 
 
SINCE 1967 THE GOB HAS HAD ON ITS STATUTE BOOKS THE ARBITRATION ACT 
(INTERNATIONAL INVESTMENT DISPUTES) OF 1966 OF THE UNITED KINGDOM.  THE 
ACT ESTABLISHES THE MACHINERY FOR ARBITRATION IN CASE OF DISPUTES.  
COMPENSATION IS BINDING UPON BELIZE. 
 
POLITICAL VIOLENCE: 
 
BELIZE HAS TRADITIONALLY ENJOYED ONE OF THE MOST STABLE POLITICAL 
ENVIRONMENTS IN THE REGION. 
 
PERFORMANCE REQUIREMENTS/INCENTIVES: 
 
THE GOB OFFERS A NUMBER OF FISCAL AND OTHER INCENTIVES IN ORDER TO 
ATTRACT PRIVATE INVESTMENTS INTO THE PRODUCTION AND SERVICE SECTORS OF 
THE ECONOMY.  A MINIMUM INVESTMENT OF USD 125,000 MUST BE MADE TO 
QUALIFY FOR A DEVELOPMENT CONCESSION.  CONCESSIONS ARE EVALUATED BASED 
ON THE INVESTMENT'S CONTRIBUTION TO THE BELIZEAN ECONOMY AND ITS 
APPROPRIATENESS IN TERMS OF THE GOVERNMENT'S DEVELOPMENT PLAN. 
INVESTMENT CONCESSIONS INCLUDE: 
 
     - TAX HOLIDAY PERIODS ALLOWED BY STATUTE UP TO 25 YEARS; 
 
     - EXEMPTION FROM IMPORT DUTIES ON CAPITAL EQUIPMENT, AS WELL AS ON 
IMPORTS FOR EXPORT PRODUCTION (BUT DUTY EXEMPTION IS NOT AVAILABLE ON 
PERSONAL-USE PASSENGER CARS OR FUEL); 
 
     - EXEMPTION FROM TAX ON PROFITS EARNED DURING THE TAX HOLIDAY (UP 
TO AN AMOUNT EQUIVALENT TO THE SHAREHOLDER'S INVESTMENT); 
 
     - GUARANTEED REPATRIATION OF INITIAL INVESTMENT AS WELL AS PROFITS 
AND RETURNS FROM CAPITAL GAINS; 
 
     - CARRYING FORWARD OF NET LOSSES INCURRED DURING THE TAX HOLIDAY IS 
PERMITTED UPON EXPIRATION OF THE HOLIDAY; AND 
 
     - RENTAL OF FACTORY SHELLS IN AN INDUSTRIAL ESTATE ON CONCESSIONARY 
TERMS, WHEN AVAILABLE. 
 
THE GRANTING OF DEVELOPMENT INCENTIVES IS REGULATED BY THE 1990 FISCAL 
INCENTIVES ACT.  AN APPLICATION SHOULD INCLUDE INFORMATION ON HOW THE 
ENTERPRISE WILL CONTRIBUTE TO THE ECONOMY, SOURCE OF FINANCING, EXPECTED 
FOREIGN EXCHANGE CONSEQUENCES, EMPLOYMENT, MANAGEMENT, AND TIME FRAME 
FOR THE PROPOSED INVESTMENT.  APPLICATON FEES FOR THESE DEVELOPMENT 
CONCESSIONS VARY DEPENDING ON THE AMOUNT OF THE PROPOSED INVESTMENT 
CAPITAL.  IF THE INVESTMENT IS NOT LESS THAN USD 125,000 AND DOES NOT 
EXCEED USD 250,000, THERE IS AN APPLICATION FEE OF USD 2,500; IF THE 
INVESTMENT IS NOT LESS THAN USD 250,000 AND DOES NOT EXCEED USD 375,000, 
THE APPLICATION FEE IS USD 3,000; AND IF THE INVESTMENT EXCEEDS USD 
375,000, THE APPLICATION FEE IS USD 3,500.  APPLICATION FEES ARE 
NONREFUNDABLE. 
 
THE LENGTH AND EXTENT OF A DEVELOPMENT CONCESSION IS DETERMINED BY 
SEVERAL FACTORS, INCLUDING: (A) THE EXTENT OF LOCAL VALUE ADDED; (B) THE 
PROJECTED PROFITABILITY OF THE ENTERPRISE; (C) FOREIGN EXCHANGE EARNINGS 
OR SAVINGS; AND (D) EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES CREATED. 
 
RIGHT TO PRIVATE OWNERSHIP AND ESTABLISHMENT: 
 
THE BELIZE INVESTMENT CODE, A GOVERNMENT DOCUMENT THAT THOROUGHLY 
DEFINES THE GOB'S INVESTMENT POLICIES, STATES THAT ALTHOUGH 100 PERCENT 
FOREIGN OWNERSHIP OF AN ENTERPRISE IS PERMITTED, JOINT VENTURES IN WHICH 
LOCAL ENTREPRENEURS PARTICIPATE ARE ENCOURAGED. 
 
WHILE NON-BELIZEANS CAN INVEST IN ANY SECTOR OF THE ECONOMY, CERTAIN 
ACTIVITIES REQUIRE SPECIAL PERMITS AND LICENSES, WHICH MAY NOT BE 
GRANTED TO NON-BELIZEANS.  THESE ACTIVITIES INCLUDE: 
 
- MERCHANDISING 
- FISHING (WITHIN THE BARRIER REEF) 
- SUGAR CANE CULTIVATION 
- INTERNAL TRANSPORTATION 
- RESTAURANTS AND BARS 
- SOUVENIR MANUFACTURING FOR LOCAL MARKET 
- BEEKEEPING 
- DIVING OPERATIONS/CRUISE SHIPS 
- SIGHTSEEING TOURS (SEA, OVERLAND, RIVER) 
- ACCOUNTING 
- REAL ESTATE 
- INSURANCE 
- ENTERTAINMENT 
- BEAUTY SALONS 
 
NON-BELIZEANS ENGAGED IN BUSINESS ACTIVITY MUST HOLD APPROPRIATE 
RESIDENT/WORK PERMITS.  PERSONS IN BELIZE ON A VISITOR'S PERMIT ARE NOT 
ALLOWED TO WORK OR CONDUCT BUSINESS. 
 
PROTECTION OF PROPERTY RIGHTS: 
 
THE CONSTITUTION OF BELIZE PROTECTS THE RIGHT TO PRIVATE PROPERTY.  
CHAPTER II, ARTICLE (3A) GUARANTEES "PROTECTION FROM ARBITRARY 
DEPRIVATION OF PROPERTY."  AS DISCUSSED IN SECTION V ABOVE, BELIZE IS 
PROVISIONALLY A PARTY TO THE BERNE CONVENTION ON COPYRIGHTS AND HAS 
INTRODUCED LEGISLATION SEEKING TO UPDATE THE COPYRIGHTS LAW. 
 
REGULATORY SYSTEM: LAWS AND PROCEDURES: 
 
BELIZE'S LAWS AND REGULATIONS ON TAX, LABOR, CUSTOMS, AND HEALTH AND 
SAFETY DO NOT SIGNIFICANTLY DISTORT OR IMPEDE THE EFFICIENT MOBILIZATION 
AND ALLOCATION OF INVESTMENT CAPITAL.  HOWEVER, SOME INVESTORS FIND THAT 
ADMINISTRATION OF BELIZEAN LAW AND PROCEDURES LACKS TRANSPARENCY.  
ALTHOUGH THERE ARE BASIC COMMODITIES THAT HAVE GOVERNMENT PRICE 
CONTROLS, BELIZE'S REGULATIONS LARGELY ENCOURAGE COMPETITION. 
 
FOREIGN CURRENCY TRANSACTIONS COME UNDER THE EXCLUSIVE CONTROL OF THE 
CENTRAL BANK OF BELIZE.  A GENERAL RULE FOR INVESTORS TO FOLLOW IS TO 
GET ACQUAINTED WITH THE LAWS OF BELIZE BEFORE EMBARKING ON THEIR 
ENTERPRISES.  BELIZE HAS MANY WELL-QUALIFIED LAWYERS AND BUSINESS 
CONSULTANTS. 
 
BILATERAL INVESTMENT AGREEMENTS: 
 
BELIZE HAS HAD A BILATERAL INVESTMENT TREATY WITH THE UNITED KINGDOM 
SINCE APRIL 1992.  THE TREATY INCLUDES MOST-FAVORED NATION PROVISIONS 
AND PROVIDES FOR JUST AND EQUITABLE COMPENSATION WITHOUT UNDUE DELAY IN 
CASES OF EXPROPRIATION OR NATIONALIZATION.  IT ASSURES UNRESTRICTED 
REPATRIATION OF INVESTMENT AND RETURNS.  ARBITRATION IS TO BE USED TO 
SETTLE DISPUTES.  BELIZE HAS NO INVESTMENT OR TAX TREATIES WITH THE 
UNITED STATES. 
 
OPIC AND OTHER INVESTMENT INSURANCE PROGRAMS: 
 
THE OVERSEAS PRIVATE INVESTMENT CORPORATION (OPIC) OFFERS POLITICAL RISK 
INSURANCE, WHICH INCLUDES COVERAGE FOR EXCHANGE INCONVERTIBILITY, 
EXPROPRIATION, AND WAR.  OPIC ALSO OFFERS FINANCING FOR QUALIFYING 
INVESTMENTS AND IS INVOLVED IN SEVERAL PROJECTS IN BELIZE.  BELIZE IS A 
MEMBER OF THE MULTILATERAL INVESTMENT GUARANTEE AGENCY (MIGA) OF THE 
WORLD BANK AND RECENTLY JOINED THE INTER-AMERICAN DEVELOPMENT BANK 
(IDB). 
 
LABOR: 
 
BECAUSE BELIZE HAS A SMALL POPULATION, ABOUT 41 PERCENT OF WHICH IS 
STILL BELOW WORKING AGE, ITS LABOR FORCE IS ONLY ABOUT 69,715.  AN 
ESTIMATED 8,500, MAINLY PUBLIC SECTOR EMPLOYEES, ARE UNIONIZED AND 
LABOR-MANAGEMENT RELATIONS ARE RELATIVELY GOOD.  ALTHOUGH THE  OFFICIAL 
UNEMPLOYMENT FIGURE IS HIGH (11.1 PERCENT), MANY EMPLOYERS SAY THEY HAVE 
DIFFICULTY FINDING WORKERS, ESPECIALLY SKILLED WORKERS, TECHNICIANS AND 
MANAGERS.  MOST OF THE UNSKILLED OR SEMI-SKILLED WORKERS IN COMMERCIAL 
AGRICULTURE ARE RECENT IMMIGRANTS OR MIGRANT WORKERS FROM NEIGHBORING 
SPANISH-SPEAKING COUNTRIES.  THE GOB RECENTLY ESTABLISHED A NATIONAL 
MINIMUM WAGE OF BZDOLS 2.25 PER HOUR FOR MANUAL LABOR AND BZDOLS 2.00 
PER HOUR FOR AGRICULTURE AND EXPORT INDUSTRIES.  THE WAGE SCALE IN 
BELIZE IS ONE OF THE HIGHEST IN THE REGION. 
 
UNDER SECTION 190 OF THE LABOR ORDINANCE OF BELIZE, BELIZE'S LABOR 
MINISTRY RELEASED IN 1983 THE COUNTRY'S LABOR CODE OF CONDUCT.  THE CODE 
OUTLINES THE FOLLOWING AS ITS GENERAL OBJECTIVES: 
 
- THE CONTINUED DEVELOPMENT OF A SYSTEM OF FREE COLLECTIVE BARGAINING 
CONDUCTED BETWEEN WORKERS AND EMPLOYERS WITH DUE REGARD TO THE INTEREST 
OF THE PUBLIC; 
 
- THE DEVELOPMENT AND MAINTENANCE OF ORDERLY PROCEDURES IN INDUSTRY FOR 
THE PEACEFUL AND EXPEDITIOUS SETTLEMENT OF DISPUTES BY NEGOTIATION, 
CONCILIATION AND ARBITRATION; AND 
 
- THE DEVELOPMENT AND MAINTENANCE OF GOOD PERSONNEL MANAGEMENT 
TECHNIQUES DESIGNED TO SECURE EFFECTIVE COOPERATION BETWEEN EMPLOYERS 
AND WORKERS AND TO PROTECT BOTH AGAINST UNFAIR LABOR PRACTICES. 
 
FOREIGN TRADE ZONES/FREE PORTS: 
 
A PRIVATE INDUSTRIAL ZONE WAS ESTABLISHED IN 1989 CLOSE TO THE MEXICAN 
BORDER TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF PREFERENTIAL MARKETS, LOWER COST MEXICAN 
ELECTRICITY, AND THE AVAILABLE LABOR SUPPLY.  THE MINISTRY OF COMMERCE, 
IN JULY 1992, DESIGNATED THIS AREA A FULL SERVICE EXPORT PROCESSING ZONE 
(EPZ), THE FIRST BENEFICIARY OF THE NEW EPZ ACT.  (BELIZE'S MAIN EPZ 
INCENTIVES ARE OUTLINED UNDER SECTION VI ABOVE.) 
             
A BILL FOR THE ESTABLISHMENT OF COMMERCIAL FREE ZONES (CFZ) WITHIN 
BELIZE WAS PASSED BY THE BELIZE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES IN NOVEMBER, 
1994.  THE CFZS WILL PROVIDE FOR INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS SERVICES, 
INCLUDING WAREHOUSING, DUTY-FREE SHOPPING, INSURANCE, BANKING, 
RELABELLING, MIXING, DISPATCHING, PROCESSING, LIGHT MANUFACTURING AND 
PROFESSIONALLY RELATED ACTIVITIES.  THE PRIVATE SECTOR WILL BE ALLOWED 
TO DEVELOP CFZS.  BOTH TYPES OF FREE ZONES ARE PERMITTED TO OPERATE 
WITHIN BELIZE WITH SPECIAL INCENTIVES AND MINIMUM REGULATORY 
INTERVENTION. 
 
CAPITAL OUTFLOW POLICY: 
 
THE GOVERNMENT ENCOURAGES CAPITAL TO BE REINVESTED OR KEPT IN THE 
COUNTRY, BUT HAS A LIBERAL POLICY TOWARD CAPITAL OUTFLOWS.  THE 
INVESTMENT CODE GUARANTEES THE REPATRIATION OF EARNINGS OR DIVIDENDS 
DERIVED FROM A FOREIGN INVESTMENT OR ON THE REMITTANCE OF FOREIGN 
CAPITAL. 
 
MAJOR FOREIGN INVESTORS: 
 
THE FOLLOWING ARE THE 10 LARGEST AMERICAN COMPANIES ESTABLISHED IN 
BELIZE (INVESTMENTS ARE IN USDOLS): 
 
1.  WILLIAMSON INDUSTRIES, LTD. 
-    SECTOR: MANUFACTURING (GARMENTS) 
-    DATE ESTABLISHED: 1961 
-    TOTAL AMOUNT INVESTED: 2.5 MILLION 
 
2.  THE ANGELUS PRESS LTD. 
-    SECTOR: MANUFACTURING (STATIONERY) 
-    DATE ESTABLISHED: 1885 
-    TOTAL AMOUNT INVESTED: 2.7 MILLION 
 
3.  NOVA COMPANIES (BELIZE) LTD. 
-    SECTOR: AQUACULTURE (SHRIMPS) 
-    DATE ESTABLISHED: 1989 
-    TOTAL AMOUNT INVESTED: 3.O MILLION 
 
 
4.  TEXACO BELIZE LTD. 
-    SECTOR: IMPORTER (PETROLEUM PRODUCTS) 
-    DATE ESTABLISHED: APRIL 1964 
-    TOTAL AMOUNT INVESTED: 4.5 MILLION 
 
 
5.  LAGUNA MADRE SHRIMP FARM BELIZE LTD. 
-    SECTOR: AQUACULTURE (SHRIMPS) 
-    DATE ESTABLISHED: JUNE 1987 
-    TOTAL AMOUNT INVESTED: 6.8 MILLION 
 
6.  TROPICAL SHIPPING 
-    SECTOR: SERVICE (SHIPPING) 
-    DATE ESTABLISHED: NOVEMBER 1988 
-    TOTAL AMOUNT INVESTED: 7 MILLION 
 
7.  ESSO STANDARD OIL S.A. LTD - BELIZE 
-    SECTOR: IMPORTER (PETROLEUM PRODUCTS) 
-    DATE ESTABLISHED: 1954 
-    TOTAL AMOUNT INVESTED: 9.6 MILLION 
 
8.  BARTON CREEK FARMS LTD. 
-    SECTOR: AGRICULTURE (CITRUS) 
-    DATE ESTABLISHED: JUNE 1990 
-    TOTAL AMOUNT INVESTED: 10 MILLION 
 
9.  RAMADA ROYAL REEF HOTEL AND MARINA 
-    SECTOR: SERVICE (HOTEL) 
-    DATE ESTABLISHED: 1989 
-    TOTAL AMOUNT INVESTED: 14.5 MILLION 
 
10. BELIZE ELECTRIC COMPANY LIMITED 
-    SECTOR: ENERGY (HYDROELECTRICITY) 
-    DATE ESTABLISHED: 1994 
-    TOTAL AMOUNT INVESTED: 60 
 
---------------------------------- 
VIII.  TRADE AND PROJECT FINANCING 
---------------------------------- 
 
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF BANKING SYSTEM: 
 
BELIZE'S FINANCIAL SYSTEM IS LIMITED TO FOUR COMMERCIAL BANKS WITH 
BRANCHES IN ALL DISTRICTS, A PARASTATAL LENDING INSTITUTION (THE 
DEVELOPMENT FINANCE CORPORATION) WITH HEADQUARTERS IN THE NATION'S 
CAPITAL, AND SEVERAL SMALL CREDIT UNIONS NATIONWIDE.   THE CENTRAL BANK 
OF BELIZE REGULATES THE LIQUIDITY AND CASH RESERVE REQUIREMENTS AND THE 
INTEREST RATE STRUCTURE OF THE COMMERCIAL BANKS. 
 
FOREIGN EXCHANGE CONTROLS AFFECTING TRADING: 
 
THE CENTRAL BANK OF BELIZE OR AUTHORIZED COMMERCIAL BANKS ARE CHARGED 
WITH THE EXCLUSIVE CONTROL OF FOREIGN CURRENCY TRANSACTIONS.  THE 
CENTRAL BANK MUST GRANT PERMISSION BEFORE ANY OTHER ENTITY CAN RETAIN A 
SUBSTANTIAL AMOUNT OF FOREIGN CURRENCY.  IN GENERAL, THE COUNTRY'S 
FOREIGN EXCHANGE CONTROLS CAN BE SUMMARIZED BY THE FOLLOWING 
CHARACTERISTICS: 
 
 
- RESIDENTS AND NON-RESIDENTS NEED PERMISSION TO BUY FOREIGN CURRENCY 
FOR WHATEVER PURPOSE; 
 
- AUTHORIZED DEALERS (I.E., COMMERCIAL BANKS) ARE ALLOWED TO SELL 
FOREIGN CURRENCY UP TO USDOLS 2,500 FOR PRIVATE TRAVEL AND UP TO USDOLS 
10,000 FOR BUSINESS TRAVEL PER CALENDAR YEAR;  REQUESTS IN EXCESS OF 
THESE AMOUNTS MUST BE APPROVED BY THE CENTRAL BANK; 
 
- EXPORTERS ARE REQUIRED TO REGISTER THEIR EXPORTS WITH THE CENTRAL 
BANK, GUARANTEEING DELIVERY OF THEIR FOREIGN EXCHANGE EARNINGS; 
 
- AUTHORIZED DEALERS MAY AUTHORIZE PAYMENTS FOR IMPORTS WHERE GOODS ARE 
PAID FOR THROUGH LETTERS OF CREDIT OR BANK COLLECTION.  THEY MAY ALSO 
AUTHORIZE PAYMENTS FOR IMPORTS AGAINST COPIES OF INVOICES AND CUSTOMS 
ENTRIES WHERE THE DOCUMENTS SHOW THAT THE GOODS WERE OBTAINED ON CREDIT; 
 
- AUTHORIZED DEALERS MAY ALSO APPROVE INDIVIDUAL PREPAYMENTS UP TO A 
MAXIMUM OF USD 1,000, IN EACH CASE, ON PRESENTATION OF THE ORIGINAL PRO-
FORMA INVOICE AND WHERE PAYMENT IS TO BE MADE DIRECTLY TO THE SUPPLIER; 
 
-  ALL OTHER APPLICATIONS FOR THE PREPAYMENT OF IMPORTS SHOULD BE 
FORWARDED TO THE CENTRAL BANK ACCOMPANIED BY A COPY OF THE PRO-FORMA 
INVOICE CERTIFIED BY THE IMPORTER OR HIS/HER AGENT AND BY EVIDENCE THAT 
SUCH ADVANCE PAYMENT IS A CONDITION OF THE CONTRACT, OR IN THE ABSENCE 
OF SUCH DOCUMENTARY EVIDENCE, A DECLARATION BY THE SUPPLIER THAT THE 
GOODS WILL BE DISPATCHED IMMEDIATELY ON RECEIPT OF ADVANCE PAYMENT; 
 
- BELIZEAN RESIDENTS WHO WISH TO BORROW ABROAD AND WHERE DEBT SERVICE 
WILL BE IN HARD CURRENCIES MUST APPLY FOR PERMISSION TO DO SO. 
 
GENERAL FINANCING AVAILABILITY: 
 
THE AVAILABILITY OF FINANCING FOR ECONOMIC ACTIVITIES IS LIMITED TO 
SHORT-TERM CREDIT.  CURRENT PRIME LENDING RATES OF LOCAL COMMERCIAL 
BANKS ARE HIGH, RANGING FROM 12 PERCENT (FOR CASH-SECURED LOANS) TO 18 
PERCENT. 
 
HOW TO FINANCE EXPORTS/METHODS OF PAYMENT: 
 
LETTER OF CREDIT IS THE MOST COMMON FORM OF PAYMENT ARRANGEMENT USED BY 
IMPORTERS IN BELIZE. 
 
 
TYPES OF AVAILABLE EXPORT FINANCING AND INSURANCE: 
 
LOCAL EXPORT FINANCING IS GENERALLY NOT AVAILABLE FROM COMMERCIAL BANKS. 
 
PROJECT FINANCING AVAILABLE: 
 
FOREIGN LENDING AGENCIES SUCH AS THE WORLD BANK, INTER-AMERICAN 
DEVELOPMENT BANK, CARIBBEAN DEVELOPMENT BANK, AND THE BRITISH OFFICE OF 
DEVELOPMENT ASSISTANCE PROVIDE FUNDS FOR PROJECTS IN BELIZE.  THESE 
PROJECTS HAVE GENERALLY BEEN IN THE HEALTH, EDUCATION AND PUBLIC ROADS 
SECTORS OF THE ECONOMY.  OPIC AND THE EXPORT-IMPORT BANK OF THE UNITED 
STATES OFFER FINANCING BUSINESS VENTURES IN BELIZE AND U.S. EQUIPMENT 
SALES. 
 
 
LIST OF LOCAL COMMERCIAL BANKS: 
 
ATLANTIC BANK LIMITED 
FREETOWN ROAD 
BELIZE CITY, BELIZE, C.A. 
CONTACT: SANDRA BEDRAN, GENERAL MANAGER 
TEL: (501) 02-77124 
FAX: (501) 02-33907 
 
BARCLAYS BANK PLC 
ALBERT STREET 
BELIZE CITY, BELIZE, C.A. 
CONTACT: G.M. HART, MANAGER 
TEL: (501) 02-77211 
FAX: (501) 02-78572 
 
THE BANK OF NOVA SCOTIA 
ALBERT STREET 
BELIZE CITY, BELIZE, C.A. 
CONTACT: CLAUDE MARSEL, MANAGER 
TEL: (501) 02-77027 
FAX: (501) 02-77416 
 
THE BELIZE BANK 
MARKET SQUARE 
BELIZE CITY, BELIZE, C.A. 
CONTACT: LOUIS SWAZEY, SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT 
TEL: (501) 02-77132 
FAX: (501) 02-72712 
 
-------------------- 
IX.  BUSINESS TRAVEL 
-------------------- 
 
BUSINESS CUSTOMS: 
 
FOREIGN BUSINESSPEOPLE SHOULD NOT EXPECT TO FIND THEIR BELIZEAN 
COUNTERPARTS IN SUIT AND TIE.  IN BELIZE CITY, BELMOPAN, AND THE 
DISTRICT CAPITALS, THE NORMAL BUSINESS ATTIRE IS JUST A SHIRT AND A TIE 
OR A GUAYABERA SHIRT.  NORMAL BUSINESS HOURS FOR THE PRIVATE SECTOR ARE 
FROM 8:00 A.M. TO 12:00 NOON AND FROM 1:00 P.M. TO 5:00 P.M., MONDAY 
THROUGH FRIDAY.  GOVERNMENT FOLLOWS THE SAME WORKING SCHEDULE EXCEPT 
THAT ON FRIDAYS, GOVERNMENT OFFICES CLOSE AT 4:30 P.M.  APPOINTMENTS ARE 
PREFERRED AND PUNCTUALITY IS ENCOURAGED AND APPRECIATED.  
 
TRAVEL ADVISORY AND VISAS: 
 
A PASSPORT ALONG WITH A RETURN TICKET IS REQUIRED TO ENTER THE COUNTRY.  
NO VISAS ARE REQUIRED FROM CITIZENS OF THE U.S., UNITED KINGDOM AND ANY 
OTHER COMMONWEALTH COUNTRY.  A DEPARTURE TAX AND SECURITY FEE OF USDOLS 
10 AND USDOLS 1.25, RESPECTIVELY, ARE REQUIRED. 
 
HOLIDAYS: 
 
JANUARY 1       NEW YEAR'S 
MARCH 9         BARON BLISS DAY 
APRIL 8 - 11    EASTER HOLIDAYS (GOOD FRIDAY AND EASTER MONDAY) 
MAY 1           LABOR DAY 
SEPTEMBER 10    SAINT GEORGE'S CAYE DAY 
SEPTEMBER 21    INDEPENDENCE DAY 
OCTOBER 12      COLUMBUS DAY 
NOVEMBER 19     CARIB SETTLEMENT DAY 
DECEMBER 25     CHRISTMAS DAY 
DECEMBER 26     BOXING DAY 
 
BUSINESS INFRASTRUCTURE: 
 
FOREIGN INVESTORS FIND IT RELATIVELY EASY TO DO BUSINESS IN BELIZE.  THE 
OFFICIAL LANGUAGE IS ENGLISH AND THE EXCHANGE RATE IS FIXED TO THE U.S. 
DOLLAR (2 BELIZE DOLLAR TO 1 U.S. DOLLAR).  INTERNATIONAL TRANSPORTATION 
IS RELATIVELY GOOD.  PORTS IN BELIZE CITY, DANGRIGA, AND BIG CREEK 
HANDLE REGULARLY SCHEDULED SHIPPING FROM THE U.S. AND U.K.  
INTERNATIONAL TELECOMMUNICATIONS ARE EXCELLENT AND BUSINESS SERVICES 
SUCH AS ACCOUNTANTS AND ATTORNEYS ARE READILY AVAILABLE.  ACCOMODATIONS 
RANGE FROM DELUXE HOTELS IN BELIZE CITY TO BEACH-FRONT RESORTS IN THE 
CAYES AND NUMEROUS SMALL LODGES AND GUEST HOUSES NATIONWIDE.  ALL HOTEL 
GUESTS ARE CHARGED A 6 PERCENT USE TAX.  THE THREE LARGEST HOTELS IN 
BELIZE  
CITY ARE: 
 
RADISSON FORT GEORGE HOTEL 
MARINE PARADE 
BELIZE CITY, BELIZE, C.A. 
TEL: (501) 02-31234 
FAX: (501) 02-30276 
 
BELIZE BILTMORE PLAZA 
MILE 3 NORTHERN HIGHWAY 
BELIZE CITY, BELIZE, C.A. 
TEL: (501) 02-32302 
FAX: (501) 02-32301 
 
RAMADA ROYAL REEF HOTEL AND MARINA 
NEWTOWN BARRACKS 
BELIZE CITY, BELIZE, C.A. 
TEL: (501) 02-32670 
FAX: (501) 02-32660 
 
MAJOR AUTO RENTAL COMPANIES IN BELIZE INCLUDE THE FOLLOWING: 
 
BUDGET RENT A CAR 
771 BELLA VISTA, NORTHERN HIGHWAY 
BELIZE CITY, BELIZE, C.A. 
TEL: (501) 02-32435 
FAX: (501) 02-30237 
 
NATIONAL CAR RENTAL 
12 NORTH FRON STREET 
BELIZE CITY, BELIZE, C.A. 
TEL: (501) 02-31587 
FAX: (501) 02-31586 
 
AVIS RENT A CAR 
50 VERNON STREET 
BELIZE CITY, BELIZE, C.A. 
TEL: (501) 02-70730 
FAX: (501) 02-70728 
 
--------------------- 
CHAPTER X. APPENDICES 
--------------------- 
 
APPENDIX A - COUNTRY DATA: 
 
- POPULATION: 209,000 (1994 ESTIMATE) 
- POPULATION GROWTH RATE: 1.7% (1994) 
- RELIGIONS: CATHOLIC, ANGLICAN, METHODIST, OTHER PROTESTANT,        
MUSLIM, HINDU, BUDDHIST. 
- GOVERNMENT SYSTEM: PARLIAMENTARY DEMOCRACY ON THE WESTMINSTER      
MODEL.  A GOVERNOR GENERAL REPRESENTS QUEEN ELIZABETH II AS        HEAD 
OF STATE.  THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY CONSISTS OF A HOUSE OF       
REPRESENTATIVES AND A SENATE. 
- LANGUAGES: ENGLISH (OFFICIAL), CREOLE, SPANISH, GARIFUNA,          
MAYAN.  MOST BELIZEANS SPEAK SPANISH IN ADDITION TO ENGLISH. 
- WORK WEEK: MONDAY-FRIDAY, 8:00 A.M. - 12:00 NOON                                             
1:00 P.M. -  5:00 P.M. 
 
APPENDIX B - DOMESTIC ECONOMY (FIGURES ARE IN USDOLS MILLIONS): 
 
-                                               1993        1994 
-                                              -----       -----  
- GDP (CURRENT PRICES)                         449.9       472.2 
- GDP GROWTH RATE (CONSTANT PRICES)              3.6         1.6 
- GDP PER CAPITA                             2,195.0     2,238.0 
- GOVERNMENT SPENDING AS PERCENT OF GDP         41.2        40.1 
- INFLATION (PERCENT)                            1.4         2.3 
- UNEMPLOYMENT (PERCENT)                         9.8        11.1 
- FOREIGN RESERVES                              38.6        34.3 
- OFFICIAL EXCHANGE RATE FOR USD 1.00            2.0         2.0 
- EXTERNAL PUBLIC DEBT                         167.9       180.4 
- DEBT SERVICE PAYMENTS (PRINCIPAL 
  AND INTEREST)                                 15.6        24.0 
- U.S. ECONOMIC/MILITARY ASSISTANCE              -          10.6   - 
 
APPENDIX C - TRADE (FIGURES ARE IN USDOLS MILLIONS): 
 
-                                               1993        1994 
-                                              -----       ----- 
- TOTAL DOMESTIC EXPORTS                       118.9       127.5 
- TOTAL DOMESTIC EXPORTS TO THE U.S.            50.8        49.5 
- U.S. SHARE OF BELIZEAN EXPORTS (PERCENT)      42.7        38.8  
- TOTAL IMPORTS                                280.9       259.9 
- TOTAL IMPORTS FROM THE U.S.                  158.8       138.1 
- U.S. SHARE OF BELIZEAN IMPORTS (PERCENT)      56.5        53.1  
- BALANCE OF TRADE WITH THE U.S.              -108.0       -88.6 
 
IMPORTS OF MANUFACTURED GOODS 
 (STANDARD INTERNATIONAL TRADE CLASSIFICATION SECTIONS 5-9) 
 
- TOTAL (FROM WORLD)                           197.5       180.7 
- FROM THE U.S                                 120.5       105.6 
- U.S. SHARE OF MANUFACTURED IMPORTS (PERCENT)  61.0        58.4 
- MANUFACTURED GOODS TRADE BALANCE WITH U.S.   -99.9       -87.9 
 
IMPORTS OF AGRICULTURAL GOODS 
 (STANDARD INTERNATIONAL TRADE CLASSIFICATION SECTIONS 0 AND 4) 
 
- TOTAL (FROM WORLD)                            42.6        39.8 
- FROM THE U.S.                                 19.6        20.7 
- U.S. SHARE OF AGRICULTURAL IMPORTS (PERCENT)  46.0        52.0 
- AGRICULTURAL GOODS TRADE BALANCE WITH U.S.   +10.4       +10.7 
 
TRADE BALANCE WITH LEADING PARTNERS 
 
- UNITED KINGDOM                               +30.2       +35.4 
- MEXICO                                       -22.9       -19.4 
- CANADA                                       + 2.5       + 4.2 
 
PRINCIPAL U.S. EXPORTS 
 (TOP 5 BY 4-DIGIT TARIFF ITEM) 
  
- 6203  MEN'S OR BOY'S TROUSERS AND SHORTS OF COTTON, ETC. 
- 6101  MEN'S OR BOY'S SUIT COMPLETE, ETC. 
- 8702  PUBLIC-TRANSPORT TYPE PASSENGER MOTOR VEHICLES 
- 8703  MOTOR CARS AND OTHER MOTOR VEHICLES 
- 8708  PARTS AND ACCESSORIES OF MOTOR VEHICLES 
 
PRINCIPAL U.S. IMPORTS 
 (TOP 5 BY 4-DIGIT TARIFF ITEM) 
 
- 6203  MEN'S OR BOYS' SUITS, ENSEMBLES, ETC. 
- 2009  FRUIT JUICES, CONCENTRATED 
- 1701  RAW CANE SUGAR 
- 1703  EDIBLE MOLASSES 
- 0306  CRUSTACEANS (SHRIMPS AND PRAWNS, FROZEN), ETC. 
 
(SOURCES: CENTRAL STATISTICAL OFFICE, MINISTRY OF FINANCE, 
-         BELMOPAN, BELIZE, C.A., AND RESEARCH DEPARTMENT, 
-         CENTRAL BANK OF BELIZE, REGENT STREET, BELIZE CITY, 
-         BELIZE, C.A.) 
 
 
 
APPENDIX D - INVESTMENT STATISTICS: 
 
- FOREIGN DIRECT INVESTMENT: REFER TO SECTION VII ON INVESTMENT      
CLIMATE. 
 
APPENDIX E - U.S. AND COUNTRY CONTACTS: 
 
- COUNTRY GOVERNMENT AGENCIES 
 
PERMANENT SECRETARY 
MINISTRY OF ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT 
BELMOPAN, BELIZE, C.A. 
TEL: 501-8-22023 
FAX: 501-8-23111 
 
PERMANENT SECRETARY 
MINISTRY OF AGRICULTURE AND FISHERIES 
BELMOPAN, BELIZE, C.A. 
TEL: 501-8-22330 
FAX: 501-8-22409 
 
PERMANENT SECRETARY 
MINISTRY OF TRADE AND INDUSTRY 
BELMOPAN, BELIZE, C.A. 
TEL: 501-8-22321 
FAX: 501-8-22923 
 
CHIEF STATISTICIAN 
CENTRAL STATISTICAL OFFICE 
MINISTRY OF FINANCE 
BELMOPAN, BELIZE, C.A. 
TEL: 501-8-22352 
FAX: 501-8-23206 
 
- COUNTRY TRADE ASSOCIATIONS 
 
BELIZE BETTER BUSINESS BUREAU 
7 MATRON ROBERTS STREET 
BELIZE CITY, BELIZE, C.A. 
TEL: 501-2-45459 
FAX: 501-2-32694 
 
BELIZE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY 
63 REGENT STREET 
BELIZE CITY, BELIZE, C.A. 
TEL: 501-2-73148 
FAX: 501-2-74984 
 
- COUNTRY MARKET RESEARCH: SAME AS TRADE ASSOCIATIONS 
 
- COUNTRY COMMERCIAL BANKS 
 
ATLANTIC BANK LIMITED 
FREETOWN ROAD 
BELIZE CITY, BELIZE, C.A. 
CONTACT: SANDRA BEDRAN, GENERAL MANAGER 
TEL: (501) 02-77124 
FAX: (501) 02-33907 
 
BARCLAYS BANK PLC 
ALBERT STREET 
BELIZE CITY, BELIZE, C.A. 
CONTACT: G.M. HART, MANAGER 
TEL: (501) 02-77211 
FAX: (501) 02-78572 
 
THE BANK OF NOVA SCOTIA 
ALBERT STREET 
BELIZE CITY, BELIZE, C.A. 
CONTACT: CLAUDE MARSEL, MANAGER 
TEL: (501) 02-77027 
FAX: (501) 02-77416 
 
THE BELIZE BANK 
MARKET SQUARE 
BELIZE CITY, BELIZE, C.A. 
CONTACT: LOUIS SWAZEY, SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT 
TEL: (501) 02-77132 
FAX: (501) 02-72712 
 
- U.S. EMBASSY TRADE PERSONNEL 
 
ECONOMIC AND COMMERCIAL OFFICER 
U.S. EMBASSY, BELIZE 
CORNER GABOUREL LANE AND HUTSON ST. 
BELIZE CITY, BELIZE 
TEL: 501-2-77161 
FAX: 501-2-35321 
ROBERT MERRIGAN (UNTIL JULY 21, 1995) 
VALERIE BELON (AFTER JULY 21, 1995) 
 
- WASHINGTON-BASED USG COUNTRY CONTACTS 
 
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE 
ARA/CEN 
2201 C STREET NW 
WASHINGTON, DC 20520 
TEL: 202-647-3380 
 
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE 
INTERNATIONAL TRADE ADMINISTRATION 
14TH STREET AND CONSTITUTION AVENUE, N.W. 
WASHINGTON, D.C. 20230 
TEL: 202-482-1658 
MICHELLE BROOKS, DESK OFFICER FOR BELIZE 
 
U.S. TRADE AND DEVELOPMENT AGENCY 
ROOM 309, SA-16 
WASHINGTON, DC 20523-1602 
TEL: 703-875-4357 
FAX: 703-875-4009 
BELIZE PROJECTS OFFICER: JOHN HERMANN 
 
OVERSEAS PRIVATE INVESTMENT CORPORATION 
1100 NEW YORK AVENUE, N.W. 
WASHINGTON, DC 20527 
TEL: 202-336-8453 
FAX: 202-408-9859 
FINANCIAL OFFICER (BELIZE): JUAN C. ALVAREZ 
 
EXPORT-IMPORT BANK 
811 VERMONT AVENUE, N.W. 
WASHINGTON, D.C. 20571 
TEL: 202-565-3946 
FAX: 202-565-3380 
BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT OFFICER (BELIZE): PAULA SWAIN PRIESTLEY 
 
APPENDIX F - MARKET RESEARCH: 
 
- LIST OF AVAILABLE AND UPCOMING DOC/ISAS AND IMIS 
 
NOT APPLICABLE 
 
- LIST OF USDA/FAS/COMMODITY REPORTS FOR COUNTRY 
 
SUGAR INDUSTRY OUTLOOK - MARCH 1995 
AQUACULTURE INDUSTRY - AUGUST 1995 
RICE INDUSTRY - AUGUST 1995 
 
APPENDIX G - TRADE EVENT SCHEDULE: 
 
DATE: APRIL/MAY  
EVENT: THE NATIONAL AGRICULTURE AND TRADE SHOW 
(THIS IS A BIANNUAL, THREE-DAY EVENT.  DATES MAY VARY.  IN THE U.S.  
PAVILION THE EMBASSY COMMERCIAL SECTION IS REPRESENTED, AS ARE THE 
EMBASSY USIS, AID, USDA AND PEACE CORPS PROGRAMS.  SOME 8-10  PRIVATE 
FIRMS WHICH OFFER U.S. PRODUCTS OR SERVICES IN BELIZE ARE ALSO IN THE 
U.S. PAVILLION.  
LOCATION: BELMOPAN 
 
DATE: MARCH 1996 
EVENT: NEW PRODUCTS CATALOG SHOW  
LOCATION: BELIZE CITY 
 
DATE: JUNE 1996 
EVENT: CONSUMER GOODS USA CATALOG SHOW 
LOCATION: BELIZE CITY 
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