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Switzerland vs. Liechtenstein

Introduction

SwitzerlandLiechtenstein
BackgroundThe Swiss Confederation was founded in 1291 as a defensive alliance among three cantons. In succeeding years, other localities joined the original three. The Swiss Confederation secured its independence from the Holy Roman Empire in 1499. A constitution of 1848, subsequently modified in 1874, replaced the confederation with a centralized federal government. Switzerland's sovereignty and neutrality have long been honored by the major European powers, and the country was not involved in either of the two world wars. The political and economic integration of Europe over the past half century, as well as Switzerland's role in many UN and international organizations, has strengthened Switzerland's ties with its neighbors. However, the country did not officially become a UN member until 2002. Switzerland remains active in many UN and international organizations but retains a strong commitment to neutrality.
The Principality of Liechtenstein was established within the Holy Roman Empire in 1719. Occupied by both French and Russian troops during the Napoleonic Wars, it became a sovereign state in 1806 and joined the Germanic Confederation in 1815. Liechtenstein became fully independent in 1866 when the Confederation dissolved. Until the end of World War I, it was closely tied to Austria, but the economic devastation caused by that conflict forced Liechtenstein to enter into a customs and monetary union with Switzerland. Since World War II (in which Liechtenstein remained neutral), the country's low taxes have spurred outstanding economic growth. In 2000, shortcomings in banking regulatory oversight resulted in concerns about the use of financial institutions for money laundering. However, Liechtenstein implemented anti-money laundering legislation and a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty with the US that went into effect in 2003.

Geography

SwitzerlandLiechtenstein
LocationCentral Europe, east of France, north of Italy
Central Europe, between Austria and Switzerland
Geographic coordinates47 00 N, 8 00 E
47 16 N, 9 32 E
Map referencesEurope
Europe
Areatotal: 41,277 sq km
land: 39,997 sq km
water: 1,280 sq km
total: 160 sq km
land: 160 sq km
water: 0 sq km
Area - comparativeslightly less than twice the size of New Jersey
about 0.9 times the size of Washington, DC
Land boundariestotal: 1,770 km
border countries (5): Austria 158 km, France 525 km, Italy 698 km, Liechtenstein 41 km, Germany 348 km
total: 75 km
border countries (2): Austria 34 km, Switzerland 41 km
Coastline0 km (landlocked)
0 km (doubly landlocked)
Maritime claimsnone (landlocked)
none (landlocked)
Climatetemperate, but varies with altitude; cold, cloudy, rainy/snowy winters; cool to warm, cloudy, humid summers with occasional showers
continental; cold, cloudy winters with frequent snow or rain; cool to moderately warm, cloudy, humid summers
Terrainmostly mountains (Alps in south, Jura in northwest) with a central plateau of rolling hills, plains, and large lakes
mostly mountainous (Alps) with Rhine Valley in western third
Elevation extremesmean elevation: 1,350 m
elevation extremes: lowest point: Lake Maggiore 195 m
highest point: Dufourspitze 4,634 m
mean elevation: NA
elevation extremes: lowest point: Ruggeller Riet 430 m
highest point: Vorder-Grauspitz 2,599 m
Natural resourceshydropower potential, timber, salt
hydroelectric potential, arable land
Land useagricultural land: 38.7%
arable land 10.2%; permanent crops 0.6%; permanent pasture 27.9%
forest: 31.5%
other: 29.8% (2011 est.)
agricultural land: 37.6%
arable land 18.8%; permanent crops 0%; permanent pasture 18.8%
forest: 43.1%
other: 19.3% (2011 est.)
Irrigated land630 sq km (2012)
0 sq km (2012)
Natural hazardsavalanches, landslides; flash floods
NA
Environment - current issuesair pollution from vehicle emissions and open-air burning; acid rain; water pollution from increased use of agricultural fertilizers; loss of biodiversity
NA
Environment - international agreementsparty to: Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants, Air Pollution-Sulfur 85, Air Pollution-Sulfur 94, Air Pollution-Volatile Organic Compounds, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Marine Dumping, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: Law of the Sea
party to: Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants, Air Pollution-Sulfur 85, Air Pollution-Sulfur 94, Air Pollution-Volatile Organic Compounds, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Ozone Layer Protection, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: Law of the Sea
Geography - notelandlocked; crossroads of northern and southern Europe; along with southeastern France, northern Italy, and southwestern Austria, has the highest elevations in the Alps
along with Uzbekistan, one of only two doubly landlocked countries in the world; variety of microclimatic variations based on elevation
Population distributionpopulation distribution corresponds to elevation with the northern and western areas far more heavily populated; the higher Alps of the south limit settlement
most of the population is found in the western half of the country along the Rhine River

Demographics

SwitzerlandLiechtenstein
Population8,179,294 (July 2016 est.)
37,937 (July 2016 est.)
Age structure0-14 years: 15.1% (male 635,840/female 599,255)
15-24 years: 11.11% (male 463,953/female 444,500)
25-54 years: 43.46% (male 1,783,071/female 1,771,590)
55-64 years: 12.37% (male 506,010/female 506,103)
65 years and over: 17.96% (male 645,225/female 823,747) (2016 est.)
0-14 years: 15.38% (male 3,141/female 2,694)
15-24 years: 11.71% (male 2,214/female 2,229)
25-54 years: 42.13% (male 7,983/female 8,001)
55-64 years: 13.82% (male 2,553/female 2,690)
65 years and over: 16.95% (male 2,954/female 3,478) (2016 est.)
Median agetotal: 42.2 years
male: 41.3 years
female: 43.2 years (2016 est.)
total: 42.9 years
male: 41.7 years
female: 44.1 years (2016 est.)
Population growth rate0.7% (2016 est.)
0.82% (2016 est.)
Birth rate10.5 births/1,000 population (2016 est.)
10.4 births/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Death rate8.2 deaths/1,000 population (2016 est.)
7.3 deaths/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Net migration rate4.7 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2016 est.)
5 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Sex ratioat birth: 1.06 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 1 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.78 male(s)/female
total population: 0.97 male(s)/female (2016 est.)
at birth: 1.26 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.17 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 0.99 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 1 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.95 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.84 male(s)/female
total population: 0.99 male(s)/female (2016 est.)
Infant mortality ratetotal: 3.6 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 4 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 3.3 deaths/1,000 live births (2016 est.)
total: 4.3 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 4.6 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 3.9 deaths/1,000 live births (2016 est.)
Life expectancy at birthtotal population: 82.6 years
male: 80.3 years
female: 85 years (2016 est.)
total population: 81.9 years
male: 79.7 years
female: 84.6 years (2016 est.)
Total fertility rate1.55 children born/woman (2016 est.)
1.69 children born/woman (2016 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate0.35% (2013 est.)
NA
Nationalitynoun: Swiss (singular and plural)
adjective: Swiss
noun: Liechtensteiner(s)
adjective: Liechtenstein
Ethnic groupsGerman 65%, French 18%, Italian 10%, Romansch 1%, other 6%
Liechtensteiner 66%, other 34% (2013 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS20,200 (2013 est.)
NA
ReligionsRoman Catholic 37.3%, Protestant 24.9%, other Christian 5.8%, Muslim 5.1%, other 1.4%, Jewish 0.2%, none 23.9%, unspecified 1.3% (2015 est.)
Roman Catholic (official) 75.9%, Protestant Reformed 6.5%, Muslim 5.4%, Lutheran 1.3%, other 2.9%, none 5.4%, unspecified 2.6% (2010 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths300 (2013 est.)
NA
LanguagesGerman (or Swiss German) (official) 63%, French (official) 22.7%, Italian (official) 8.1%, English 4.9%, Portuguese 3.7%, Albanian 3%, Serbo-Croatian 2.4%, Spanish 2.2%, Romansch (official) 0.5%, other 7.1%
note: German, French, Italian, and Romansch are all national and official languages; totals more than 100% because some respondents indicated more than one main language (2015 est.)
German 94.5% (official) (Alemannic is the main dialect), Italian 1.1%, other 4.3% (2010 est.)
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)total: 16 years
male: 16 years
female: 16 years (2014)
total: 15 years
male: 16 years
female: 13 years (2015)
Education expenditures5.1% of GDP (2013)
2.6% of GDP (2011)
Urbanizationurban population: 73.9% of total population (2015)
rate of urbanization: 1.08% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
urban population: 14.3% of total population (2015)
rate of urbanization: 0.48% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
Major cities - populationZurich 1.246 million; BERN (capital) 358,000 (2015)
VADUZ (capital) 5,000 (2014)

Government

SwitzerlandLiechtenstein
Country nameconventional long form: Swiss Confederation
conventional short form: Switzerland
local long form: Schweizerische Eidgenossenschaft (German); Confederation Suisse (French); Confederazione Svizzera (Italian); Confederaziun Svizra (Romansh)
local short form: Schweiz (German); Suisse (French); Svizzera (Italian); Svizra (Romansh)
etymology: name derives from the canton of Schwyz, one of the founding cantons of the Old Swiss Confederacy that formed in the 14th century
"conventional long form: Principality of Liechtenstein
conventional short form: Liechtenstein
local long form: Fuerstentum Liechtenstein
local short form: Liechtenstein
etymology: named after the Liechtenstein dynasty that purchased and united the counties of Schellenburg and Vaduz and that was allowed by the Holy Roman Emperor in 1719 to rename the new property after their family; the name in German means ""light (bright) stone""
"
Government typefederal republic (formally a confederation)
constitutional monarchy
Capitalname: Bern
geographic coordinates: 46 55 N, 7 28 E
time difference: UTC+1 (6 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October
name: Vaduz
geographic coordinates: 47 08 N, 9 31 E
time difference: UTC+1 (6 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October
Administrative divisions26 cantons (cantons, singular - canton in French; cantoni, singular - cantone in Italian; Kantone, singular - Kanton in German); Aargau, Appenzell Ausserrhoden, Appenzell Innerrhoden, Basel-Landschaft, Basel-Stadt, Berne/Bern, Fribourg/Freiburg, Geneve, Glarus, Graubuenden/Grigioni/Grischun, Jura, Luzern, Neuchatel, Nidwalden, Obwalden, Sankt Gallen, Schaffhausen, Schwyz, Solothurn, Thurgau, Ticino, Uri, Valais/Wallis, Vaud, Zug, Zuerich
note: 6 of the cantons - Appenzell Ausserrhoden, Appenzell Innerrhoden, Basel-Landschaft, Basel-Stadt, Nidwalden, Obwalden - are referred to as half cantons because they elect only one member to the Council of States and, in popular referendums where a majority of popular votes and a majority of cantonal votes are required, these 6 cantons only have a half vote
11 communes (Gemeinden, singular - Gemeinde); Balzers, Eschen, Gamprin, Mauren, Planken, Ruggell, Schaan, Schellenberg, Triesen, Triesenberg, Vaduz
Independence1 August 1291 (founding of the Swiss Confederation)
23 January 1719 (Principality of Liechtenstein established); 12 July 1806 (independence from the Holy Roman Empire); 24 August 1866 (independence from the German Confederation)
National holidayFounding of the Swiss Confederation in 1291; note - since 1 August 1891 celebrated as Swiss National Day
National Day, 15 August (1940); note - a National Day was originally established in 1940 to combine celebrations for the Feast of the Assumption (15 August) with those honoring the birthday of former Prince Franz Josef II (1906-1989) whose birth fell on 16 August; after the prince's death, National Day became the official national holiday by law in 1990
Constitution"history: previous 1848, 1874; latest adopted by referendum 18 April 1999, effective 1 January 2000
amendments: proposed by the two houses of the Federal Assembly or by petition of at least one million voters (called the ""federal popular initiative""); passage of proposals requires majority vote in a referendum; following drafting of an amendment by the Assembly, its passage requires approval by majority vote in a referendum and approval by the majority of cantons; amended many times, last in 2016 (2016)
"
history: previous 1862; latest adopted 5 October 1921
amendments: proposed by Parliament, by the reigning prince (in the form of “Government” proposals), by petition of at least 1,500 qualified voters, or by at least four communes; passage requires unanimous approval of Parliament members in one sitting or three-quarters majority vote in two successive sittings; referendum required only if petitioned by at least 1,500 voters or by at least four communes; passage by referendum requires absolute majority of votes cast; amended several times, last in 2011 (2016)
Legal systemcivil law system; judicial review of legislative acts, except for federal decrees of a general obligatory character
civil law system influenced by Swiss, Austrian, and German law
Suffrage18 years of age; universal
18 years of age; universal
Executive branchchief of state: President of the Swiss Confederation Doris LEUTHARD (since 1 January 2017); Vice President Alain BERSET (since 1 January 2017; note - the Federal Council, which is comprised of 7 federal councillors, constitutes the federal government of Switzerland; council members rotate in a 1-year term as federal president (chief of state and head of government)
head of government: President of the Swiss Confederation Doris LEUTHARD (since 1 January 2017); Vice President Alain BERSET (since 1 January 2017)
cabinet: Federal Council or Bundesrat (in German), Conseil Federal (in French), Consiglio Federale (in Italian) indirectly elected usually from among its members by the Federal Assembly for a 4-year term
elections/appointments: president and vice president elected by the Federal Assembly from among members of the Federal Council for a 1-year, non-consecutive term; election last held on 7 December 2016 (next to be held in early December 2017)
election results: Doris LEUTHARD elected president; Federal Assembly vote - 188 of 207; Alain BERSET elected vice president
chief of state: Prince HANS-ADAM II (since 13 November 1989, assumed executive powers on 26 August 1984); Heir Apparent Prince ALOIS, son of the monarch (born 11 June 1968); note - on 15 August 2004, HANS-ADAM II transferred the official duties of the ruling prince to ALOIS, but HANS-ADAM II retains status of chief of state
head of government: Prime Minister Adrian HASLER (since 27 March 2013)
cabinet: Cabinet elected by the Parliament, confirmed by the monarch
elections/appointments: the monarchy is hereditary; following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party in the Parliament usually appointed the head of government by the monarch, and the leader of the largest minority party in the Landtag usually appointed the deputy head of government by the monarch if there is a coalition government
Legislative branchdescription: bicameral Federal Assembly or Bundesversammlung - in German, Assemblee Federale - in French, Assemblea Federale - in Italian consists of the Council of States or Staenderat - in German, Conseil des Etats - in French, Consiglio degli Stati - in Italian (46 seats; members in multi-seat constituencies representing cantons and single-seat constituencies representing half cantons directly elected by simple majority vote; members serve 4-year terms) and the National Council or Nationalrat - in German, Conseil National - in French, Consiglio Nazionale - in Italian (200 seats; 195 members in cantons directly elected by proportional representation vote and 6 in half cantons directly elected by simple majority vote; members serve 4-year terms)
elections: Council of States - last held in most cantons on 18 October 2015 (each canton determines when the next election will be held); National Council - last held on 18 October 2015 (next to be held in October 2019)
election results: Council of States - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party (as of 18 October 2015) - Christian Democratic People's Party 13, Free Democratic Party 13, SDP 12, Swiss People's Party 6, other 2; National Council - percent of vote by party - SVP 29.4%, SPS 18.8%, FDP 16.4%, CVP 11.6%, Green Party 7.1%, GLP 4.6%, BDP 4.1%, other 8.0%; seats by party - SVP 68, SPS 43, FDP 33, CVP 30, Green Party 12, GLP 7, BDP 7
description: unicameral Parliament or Landtag (25 seats; members directly elected in two multi-seat constituencies by proportional representation vote to serve 4-year terms)
elections: last held on 5 February 2017 (next to be held on February 2021)
election results: percent of vote by party - FBP 35.2%, VU 33.7%, DU 18.4% FL 12.6%; seats by party - FBP 9, VU 8, DU 5, FL 3
Judicial branchhighest court(s): Federal Supreme Court (consists of 38 judges and 31 substitutes and organized into 5 sections)
judge selection and term of office: judges elected by the Federal Assembly for 6-year terms; note - judges are affiliated with political parties and are elected according to linguistic and regional criteria in approximate proportion to the level of party representation in the Federal Assembly
subordinate courts: Federal Criminal Court (began in 2004); Federal Administrative Court (began in 2007); note - each of Switzerland's 26 cantons has its own courts
highest court(s): Supreme Court or Oberster Gerichtshof (consists of 5 judges); Constitutional Court or Verfassungsgericht (consists of 5 judges and 5 alternates)
judge selection and term of office: judges of both courts elected by the Landtag and appointed by the monarch; Supreme Court judges serve 4-year renewable terms; Constitutional Court judges appointed for renewable 5-year terms
subordinate courts: Court of Appeal or Obergericht (second instance), Court of Justice (first instance), Administrative Court, county courts
Political parties and leadersChristian Democratic People's Party (Christlichdemokratische Volkspartei der Schweiz or CVP, Parti Democrate-Chretien Suisse or PDC, Partito Popolare Democratico Svizzero or PPD, Partida Cristiandemocratica dalla Svizra or PCD) [Gerhard PFISTER]
Conservative Democratic Party (Buergerlich-Demokratische Partei Schweiz or BDP, Parti Bourgeois Democratique Suisse or PBD, Partito Borghese Democratico Svizzero or PBD, Partido burgais democratica Svizera or PBD) [Martin LANDOLT]
Free Democratic Party or FDP.The Liberals (FDP.Die Liberalen, PLR.Les Liberaux-Radicaux, PLR.I Liberali, Ils Liberals) [Petra GOESSI]
Green Liberal Party (Grunliberale or GLP, Parti vert liberale or PVL, Partito Verde-Liberale or PVL, Partida Verde Liberale or PVL) [Martin BAEUMLE]
Green Party (Gruene Partei der Schweiz or Gruene, Parti Ecologiste Suisse or Les Verts, Partito Ecologista Svizzero or I Verdi, Partida Ecologica Svizra or La Verda) [Regula RYTZ]
Social Democratic Party (Sozialdemokratische Partei der Schweiz or SPS, Parti Socialiste Suisse or PSS, Partito Socialista Svizzero or PSS, Partida Socialdemocratica de la Svizra or PSS) [Christian LEVRAT]
Swiss People's Party (Schweizerische Volkspartei or SVP, Union Democratique du Centre or UDC, Unione Democratica di Centro or UDC, Uniun Democratica dal Center or UDC) [Albert ROESTI]
other minor parties
Fatherland Union (Vaterlaendische Union) or VU [Guenther FRITZ]
Progressive Citizens' Party (Fortschrittliche Buergerpartei) or FBP [Thomas BANZER]
The Free List (Die Freie Liste) or FL [Pepo FRICK]
The Independents (Die Unabhaengigen) or DU [Harry QUADERER]
International organization participationADB (nonregional member), AfDB (nonregional member), Australia Group, BIS, CD, CE, CERN, EAPC, EBRD, EFTA, EITI (implementing country), ESA, FAO, FATF, G-10, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (national committees), ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IEA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IGAD (partners), ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), LAIA (observer), MIGA, MINUSMA, MONUSCO, NEA, NSG, OAS (observer), OECD, OIF, OPCW, OSCE, Pacific Alliance (observer), Paris Club, PCA, PFP, Schengen Convention, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNITAR, UNMISS, UNMOGIP, UNRWA, UNTSO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO, ZC
CD, CE, EBRD, EFTA, IAEA, ICCt, ICRM, IFRCS, Interpol, IOC, IPU, ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), OAS (observer), OPCW, OSCE, PCA, Schengen Convention, UN, UNCTAD, UPU, WIPO, WTO
Diplomatic representation in the USchief of mission: Ambassador Martin DAHINDEN (since 18 November 2014)
chancery: 2900 Cathedral Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 745-7900
FAX: [1] (202) 387-2564
consulate(s) general: Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco
chief of mission: Ambassador Kurt JAEGER (since 16 December 2016)
chancery: 2900 K Street, NW, Suite 602B, Washington, DC 20007
telephone: [1] (202) 331-0590
FAX: [1] (202) 331-3221
Diplomatic representation from the USchief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge d'Affaires Tara Feret ERATH (since 20 January 2017) note - also accredited to Liechtenstein
embassy: Sulgeneckstrasse 19, CH-3007 Bern
mailing address: use embassy street address
telephone: [41] (031) 357-70-11
FAX: [41] (031) 357-73-20
the US does not have an embassy in Liechtenstein; the US Ambassador to Switzerland is accredited to Liechtenstein
Flag descriptionred square with a bold, equilateral white cross in the center that does not extend to the edges of the flag; various medieval legends purport to describe the origin of the flag; a white cross used as identification for troops of the Swiss Confederation is first attested at the Battle of Laupen (1339)
two equal horizontal bands of blue (top) and red with a gold crown on the hoist side of the blue band; the colors may derive from the blue and red livery design used in the principality's household in the 18th century; the prince's crown was introduced in 1937 to distinguish the flag from that of Haiti
National anthem"the Swiss anthem has four names: ""Schweizerpsalm"" [German] ""Cantique Suisse"" [French] ""Salmo svizzero,"" [Italian] ""Psalm svizzer"" [Romansch] (Swiss Psalm)
lyrics/music: Leonhard WIDMER [German], Charles CHATELANAT [French], Camillo VALSANGIACOMO [Italian], and Flurin CAMATHIAS [Romansch]/Alberik ZWYSSIG
note: unofficially adopted 1961, officially 1981; the anthem has been popular in a number of Swiss cantons since its composition (in German) in 1841; translated into the other three official languages of the country (French, Italian, and Romansch), it is official in each of those languages
"
"name: ""Oben am jungen Rhein"" (High Above the Young Rhine)
lyrics/music: Jakob Joseph JAUCH/Josef FROMMELT
note: adopted 1850, revised 1963; uses the tune of ""God Save the Queen""
"
International law organization participationaccepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
National symbol(s)Swiss cross (white cross on red field, arms equal length); national colors: red, white
princely hat (crown); national colors: blue, red
Citizenshipcitizenship by birth: no
citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen of Switzerland
dual citizenship recognized: yes
residency requirement for naturalization: 12 years including at least 3 of the last 5 years prior to application
citizenship by birth: no
citizenship by descent only: the father must be a citizen of Liechtenstein; in the case of a child born out of wedlock, the mother must be a citizen
dual citizenship recognized: no
residency requirement for naturalization: 5 years

Economy

SwitzerlandLiechtenstein
Economy - overviewSwitzerland, a country that espouses neutrality, is a prosperous and modern market economy with low unemployment, a highly skilled labor force, and a per capita GDP among the highest in the world. Switzerland's economy benefits from a highly developed service sector, led by financial services, and a manufacturing industry that specializes in high-technology, knowledge-based production. Its economic and political stability, transparent legal system, exceptional infrastructure, efficient capital markets, and low corporate tax rates also make Switzerland one of the world's most competitive economies.

The Swiss have brought their economic practices largely into conformity with the EU's to enhance their international competitiveness, but some trade protectionism remains, particularly for its small agricultural sector. The fate of the Swiss economy is tightly linked to that of its neighbors in the euro zone, which purchases half of Swiss exports. The global financial crisis of 2008 and resulting economic downturn in 2009 stalled demand for Swiss exports and put Switzerland into a recession. During this period, the Swiss National Bank (SNB) implemented a zero-interest rate policy to boost the economy, as well as to prevent appreciation of the franc, and Switzerland's economy began to recover in 2010.

The sovereign debt crises unfolding in neighboring euro-zone countries, however, coupled with ongoing economic instability in Russia and other eastern European economies continue to pose a significant risk to the Swiss economy, driving up demand for the Swiss franc by investors seeking a safe-haven currency. In January 2015, the SNB abandoned the Swiss franc’s peg to the euro, roiling global currency markets and making active SNB intervention a necessary hallmark of present-day Swiss monetary policy. The independent SNB has upheld its zero interest rate policy and conducted major market interventions to prevent further appreciation of the Swiss franc, but parliamentarians have urged it to do more to weaken the currency. The franc's strength has made Swiss exports less competitive and weakened the country's growth outlook; GDP growth fell below 2% per year from 2011-16.

In recent years, Switzerland has responded to increasing pressure from neighboring countries and trading partners to reform its banking secrecy laws, by agreeing to conform to OECD regulations on administrative assistance in tax matters, including tax evasion. The Swiss government has also renegotiated its double taxation agreements with numerous countries, including the US, to incorporate OECD standards, and is openly considering the possibility of imposing taxes on bank deposits held by foreigners.
"Despite its small size and lack of natural resources, Liechtenstein has developed into a prosperous, highly industrialized, free-enterprise economy with a vital financial service sector and the third highest per capita income in the world, after Qatar and Luxembourg. The Liechtenstein economy is widely diversified with a large number of small businesses. Low business taxes - a flat tax of 12.5% on the income is applied - and easy incorporation rules have induced many holding companies to establish nominal offices in Liechtenstein, providing 30% of state revenues.

The country participates in a customs union with Switzerland and uses the Swiss franc as its national currency. It imports more than 90% of its energy requirements. Liechtenstein has been a member of the European Economic Area (an organization serving as a bridge between the European Free Trade Association and the EU) since May 1995. The government is working to harmonize its economic policies with those of an integrated Europe.

Since 2008, Liechtenstein has faced renewed international pressure - particularly from Germany and the US - to improve transparency in its banking and tax systems. In December 2008, Liechtenstein signed a Tax Information Exchange Agreement with the US. Upon Liechtenstein's conclusion of 12 bilateral information-sharing agreements, the OECD in October 2009 removed the principality from its ""grey list"" of countries that had yet to implement the organization's Model Tax Convention. By the end of 2010, Liechtenstein had signed 25 Tax Information Exchange Agreements or Double Tax Agreements. In 2011, Liechtenstein joined the Schengen area, which allows passport-free travel across 26 European countries.
"
GDP (purchasing power parity)$496.3 billion (2016 est.)
$489.5 billion (2015 est.)
$485.5 billion (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars
$4.978 billion (2014 est.)
$3.2 billion (2009 est.)
$3.216 billion (2008 est.)
GDP - real growth rate1.4% (2016 est.)
0.8% (2015 est.)
2% (2014 est.)
1.8% (2012 est.)
-0.5% (2011 est.)
3.1% (2007 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP)$59,400 (2016 est.)
$59,400 (2015 est.)
$59,600 (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars
$139,100 (2009 est.)
$90,100 (2008 est.)
$91,300 (2007 est.)
GDP - composition by sectoragriculture: 0.7%
industry: 25.9%
services: 73.4% (2016 est.)
agriculture: 7%
industry: 41%
services: 52% (2014)
Population below poverty line6.6% (2014 est.)
NA%
Household income or consumption by percentage sharelowest 10%: 7.5%
highest 10%: 19% (2007)
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Inflation rate (consumer prices)-0.4% (2016 est.)
-1.1% (2015 est.)
-0.4% (2016 est.)
-0.2% (2013)
Labor force3.843 million (2016 est.)
38,520 (2012)
note: 51% of the labor force in Liechtenstein commute daily from Austria, Switzerland, and Germany (2015 est.)
Labor force - by occupationagriculture: 3.3%
industry: 19.8%
services: 76.9% (2015)
agriculture: 0.8%
industry: 36.9%
services: 62.3% (2015)
Unemployment rate3.3% (2016 est.)
3.2% (2015 est.)
2.4% (2015)
2.4% (2014)
Budgetrevenues: $215.9 billion
expenditures: $213.4 billion
note: includes federal, cantonal, and municipal budgets (2016 est.)
revenues: $995.3 million
expenditures: $890.4 million (2011 est.)
Industriesmachinery, chemicals, watches, textiles, precision instruments, tourism, banking, insurance, pharmaceuticals
electronics, metal manufacturing, dental products, ceramics, pharmaceuticals, food products, precision instruments, tourism, optical instruments
Industrial production growth rate2.1% (2016 est.)
NA%
Agriculture - productsgrains, fruits, vegetables; meat, eggs, dairy products
wheat, barley, corn, potatoes; livestock, dairy products
Exports$301.1 billion (2016 est.)
$303.5 billion (2015 est.)
note: trade data exclude trade with Switzerland
$3.217 billion (2015 est.)
$3.774 billion (2014 est.)
note: trade data exclude trade with Switzerland
Exports - commoditiesmachinery, chemicals, metals, watches, agricultural products
small specialty machinery, connectors for audio and video, parts for motor vehicles, dental products, hardware, prepared foodstuffs, electronic equipment, optical products
Imports$243.4 billion (2016 est.)
$247.7 billion (2015 est.)
$1.989 billion (2015 est.)
$2.23 billion (2014 est.)
note: trade data exclude trade with Switzerland
Imports - commoditiesmachinery, chemicals, vehicles, metals; agricultural products, textiles
agricultural products, raw materials, energy products, machinery, metal goods, textiles, foodstuffs, motor vehicles
Debt - external$1.664 trillion (31 March 2016 est.)
$1.663 trillion (31 March 2015 est.)
$0 (2015 est.)
note: public external debt only; private external debt unavailable
Exchange ratesSwiss francs (CHF) per US dollar -
0.9992 (2016 est.)
0.9627 (2015 est.)
0.9627 (2014 est.)
0.9152 (2013 est.)
0.9377 (2012 est.)
Swiss francs (CHF) per US dollar -
0.9992 (2016 est.)
0.9627 (2015 est.)
0.9627 (2014 est.)
0.9152 (2013 est.)
0.9377 (2012 est.)
Fiscal yearcalendar year
calendar year
GDP (official exchange rate)$662.5 billion (2016 est.)
$6.672 billion (2010 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares$1.519 trillion (31 December 2015 est.)
$1.495 trillion (31 December 2014 est.)
$1.541 trillion (31 December 2013 est.)
$NA
Taxes and other revenues32.6% of GDP (2016 est.)
14.9% of GDP (2012 est.)
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)0.4% of GDP (2016 est.)
1.6% of GDP (2012 est.)

Energy

SwitzerlandLiechtenstein
Electricity - production63.66 billion kWh (2015 est.)
68.43 million kWh (2015)
Electricity - consumption62.63 billion kWh (2015 est.)
393.6 million kWh (2015)
Electricity - exports43.34 billion kWh (2015 est.)
0 kWh (2015 est.) (2015 est.)
Electricity - imports42.31 billion kWh (2015 est.)
325.2 million kWh (2015)
Electricity accesselectrification - total population: 100% (2016)
electrification - total population: 100% (2016)

Telecommunications

SwitzerlandLiechtenstein
Telephones - main lines in usetotal subscriptions: 4.14 million
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 51 (July 2015 est.)
total subscriptions: 17,184
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 46 (July 2015 est.)
Telephones - mobile cellulartotal: 11.7 million
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 144 (July 2015 est.)
total: 41,000
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 108 (July 2015 est.)
Telephone systemgeneral assessment: highly developed telecommunications infrastructure with excellent domestic and international services
domestic: ranked among leading countries for fixed-line teledensity and infrastructure; mobile-cellular subscribership roughly 145 per 100 persons; extensive cable and microwave radio relay networks
international: country code - 41; satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean and Indian Ocean) (2015)
general assessment: automatic telephone system
domestic: fixed-line and mobile-cellular services widely available; combined telephone service subscribership exceeds 150 per 100 persons
international: country code - 423; linked to Swiss networks by cable and microwave radio relay (2015)
Internet country code.ch
.li
Internet userstotal: 7.145 million
percent of population: 88% (July 2015 est.)
total: 36,000
percent of population: 96.6% (July 2015 est.)
Broadcast mediathe publicly owned radio and TV broadcaster, Swiss Broadcasting Corporation (SRG/SSR), operates 7 national TV networks, 3 broadcasting in German, 2 in Italian, and 2 in French; private commercial TV stations broadcast regionally and locally; TV broadcasts from stations in Germany, Italy, and France are widely available via multi-channel cable and satellite TV services; SRG/SSR operates 17 radio stations that, along with private broadcasters, provide national to local coverage (2015)
relies on foreign terrestrial and satellite broadcasters for most broadcast media services; first Liechtenstein-based TV station established August 2008; Radio Liechtenstein operates multiple radio stations; a Swiss-based broadcaster operates several radio stations in Liechtenstein (2008)

Transportation

SwitzerlandLiechtenstein
Railwaystotal: 5,651.5 km
standard gauge: 4,424.8 km 1.435-m gauge (3,634.1 km electrified)
narrow gauge: 2 km 1.200-m gauge (2 km electrified); 1,188.3 km 1.000-m gauge (1,167.3 km electrified); 36.4 km 0.800-m gauge (36.4 km electrified) (2014)
total: 9 km
standard gauge: 9 km 1.435-m gauge (electrified)
note: belongs to the Austrian Railway System connecting Austria and Switzerland (2008)
Roadwaystotal: 71,464 km
paved: 71,464 km (includes 1,415 of expressways) (2011)
total: 380 km
paved: 380 km (2012)
Waterways1,292 km (there are 1,227 km of waterways on lakes and rivers for public transport and 65 km on the Rhine River between Basel-Rheinfelden and Schaffhausen-Bodensee for commercial goods transport) (2010)
28 km (2010)
Pipelinesgas 1,800 km; oil 94 km; refined products 7 km (2013)
gas 20 km (2013)

Military

SwitzerlandLiechtenstein
Military branchesSwiss Armed Forces: Land Forces, Swiss Air Force (Schweizer Luftwaffe) (2013)
no regular military forces; National Police maintain close relations with neighboring forces (2016)

Transnational Issues

SwitzerlandLiechtenstein
Disputes - internationalnone
none
Illicit drugsa major international financial center vulnerable to the layering and integration stages of money laundering; despite significant legislation and reporting requirements, secrecy rules persist and nonresidents are permitted to conduct business through offshore entities and various intermediaries; transit country for and consumer of South American cocaine, Southwest Asian heroin, and Western European synthetics; domestic cannabis cultivation and limited ecstasy production
has strengthened money laundering controls, but money laundering remains a concern due to Liechtenstein's sophisticated offshore financial services sector

Source: CIA Factbook