Economy of Belize

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Economy of Belize
Bliss and Radisson - Belize City.jpg
Currency Belize dollar (BZD)
1 April – 31 March
Trade organisations
CARICOM, WTO
Statistics
GDP $1.770 billion (nominal 2016)
$3.088 billion (PPP 2016)
GDP rank 169th (nominal 2016 IMF)
167th (PPP 2016 IMF)
GDP growth
3.8% (2015), -0.5% (2016),
1.2% (2017e), 2.0% (2018f) [1]
GDP per capita
$8,186 (2016)
GDP by sector
Agriculture (13%), industry (23%), services (64%) (2012 est.)
2.3% (2017) [2]
Population below poverty line
41.3% (2009) [2]
Labour force

139,456 (2012 est.) [3]

note: shortage of skilled labor and all types of technical personnel
Labour force by occupation
Agriculture (10.2%), industry (18.1%), services (71.7%) (2007 est.)
Unemployment 11.1% (2016) [2]
Main industries
Garment production, food processing, tourism, construction, oil
112th (2017) [4]
External
Exports $633 million (2013 est.)
Export goods
Sugar, bananas, citrus, clothing, fish products, molasses, wood, crude oil
Main export partners
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg  United Kingdom 30.8%
Flag of the United States.svg  United States 18.7%
Flag of Nigeria.svg  Nigeria 6.7%
Flag of Trinidad and Tobago.svg  Trinidad and Tobago 4.8%
Flag of Ireland.svg  Ireland 4.2%
Flag of Jamaica.svg  Jamaica 4.2% (2015) [5]
Import goods
Machinery and transport equipment, manufactured goods, fuels, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, food, beverages, tobacco
Main import partners
Flag of the United States.svg  United States 26.6%
Flag of Mexico.svg  Mexico 11.7%
Flag of Cuba.svg  Cuba 10.2%
Flag of Guatemala.svg  Guatemala 9%
Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg  China 7.5%
Flag of Trinidad and Tobago.svg  Trinidad and Tobago 5.6% (2015) [6]
$1.048 billion (December 2013 est.)
Public finances
$1.229 billion (2013 est.)
Revenues $410.1 million (2013 est.)
Expenses $352.4 million (2013 est.)
CC (Domestic)
CC (Foreign)
CC (T&C Assessment)
(Standard & Poor's) [7]
Main data source: CIA World Fact Book
All values, unless otherwise stated, are in US dollars.

Belize has a small, essentially private enterprise economy that is based primarily on agriculture, tourism, and services. The cultivation of newly discovered oil in the town of Spanish Lookout has presented new prospects and problems for this developing nation. [8] Belize's primary exports are citrus, sugar, and bananas. Belize's trade deficit has been growing, mostly as a result of low export prices for sugar and bananas.[ citation needed ]

Belize country in Central America

Belize is a country located on the eastern coast of Central America. Belize is bordered on the northwest by Mexico, on the east by the Caribbean Sea, and on the south and west by Guatemala. It has an area of 22,970 square kilometres (8,867 sq mi) and a population of 387,879 (2017). Its mainland is about 180 mi (290 km) long and 68 mi (110 km) wide. It has the lowest population and population density in Central America. The country's population growth rate of 1.87% per year (2015) is the second highest in the region and one of the highest in the Western Hemisphere.

Spanish Lookout Place in Cayo District, Belize

Spanish Lookout is a settlement in the Cayo District of Belize in Central America. According to the 2010 census, Spanish Lookout had a population of 2,253 people in 482 households. Spanish Lookout is a community of Mennonites.

Contents

The new government faces important challenges to economic stability. Rapid action to improve tax collection has been promised, but a lack of progress in reining in spending could bring the exchange rate under pressure. The Belize Dollar is fixed to the U.S. dollar at a rate of 2:1. [9]

Belize dollar currency

The Belize dollar is the official currency in Belize. It is normally abbreviated with the dollar sign $, or alternatively BZ$ to distinguish it from other dollar-denominated currencies.

Domestic industry is limited, constrained by relatively high-cost labour and energy and a small domestic market. Tourism attracts the most foreign direct investment although significant foreign investment is also found in the energy, telecommunications, and agricultural sectors.

Tourism travel for recreational or leisure purposes

Tourism is travel for pleasure or business; also the theory and practice of touring, the business of attracting, accommodating, and entertaining tourists, and the business of operating tours. Tourism may be international, or within the traveller's country. The World Tourism Organization defines tourism more generally, in terms which go "beyond the common perception of tourism as being limited to holiday activity only", as people "traveling to and staying in places outside their usual environment for not more than one consecutive year for leisure and not less than 24 hours, business and other purposes".

History

Belize's economy depended on forestry until well into the 20th century. Logwood, used to make dye, was Belize's initial main export. However, the supply outstripped the demand, especially as Europeans developed man-made dyes which were less expensive. Loggers turned to mahogany, which grew in abundance in the country's forests. The wood was prized for use in cabinets, ships, and railroad carriers.

Forestry economic sector

Forestry is the science and craft of creating, managing, using, conserving, and repairing forests, woodlands, and associated resources for human and environmental benefits. Forestry is practiced in plantations and natural stands. The science of forestry has elements that belong to the biological, physical, social, political and managerial sciences.

Dye colored substance that has an affinity to the substrate to which it is being applied

A dye is a colored substance that has an affinity to the substrate to which it is being applied. The dye is generally applied in an aqueous solution, and may require a mordant to improve the fastness of the dye on the fiber.

Mahogany wood

Mahogany is a straight-grained, reddish-brown timber of three tropical hardwood species of the genus Swietenia, indigenous to the Americas and part of the pantropical chinaberry family, Meliaceae.

While many merchants and traders became wealthy from the mahogany industry, ups and downs in the market had a large impact on the economy. In addition, new mahogany trees weren't being planted, because mahogany trees grow slowly; the rate of natural regrowth necessitated a large, long-term investment in tree farming, which was not made. As the 19th century progressed, loggers were forced to go deeper into the forests to find the trees, increasing labour costs.

An economy is an area of the production, distribution, or trade, and consumption of goods and services by different agents. Understood in its broadest sense, 'The economy is defined as a social domain that emphasize the practices, discourses, and material expressions associated with the production, use, and management of resources'. Economic agents can be individuals, businesses, organizations, or governments. Economic transactions occur when two parties agree to the value or price of the transacted good or service, commonly expressed in a certain currency. However, monetary transactions only account for a small part of the economic domain.

Variations of mahogany exports over long periods of time were linked to the accessible supply of the resource. Thus, improvements in hauling methods helped the cutters satisfy increasing demands for mahogany by enabling them to extract timber from areas in the interior that had been previously inaccessible to them. Immediately after the introduction of cattle in the early 19th century, tractors in the 1920s, and lorries in the 1940s, production levels rose dramatically.

When the supply of accessible timber dwindled and logging became too unprofitable in the 20th century, the country's economy shifted to new sectors. Cane sugar became the principal export and recently has been augmented by expanded production of citrus, bananas, seafood, and apparel. The country has about 8,090 km² of arable land, only a small fraction of which is under cultivation. To curb land speculation, the government enacted legislation in 1973 that requires non-Belizeans to complete a development plan on land they purchase before obtaining title to plots of more than 10 acres (40,000 m²) of rural land or more than one-half acre (2,000 m²) of urban land.

Sugar generic name for sweet-tasting, soluble carbohydrates

Sugar is the generic name for sweet-tasting, soluble carbohydrates, many of which are used in food. The various types of sugar are derived from different sources. Simple sugars are called monosaccharides and include glucose, fructose, and galactose. "Table sugar" or "granulated sugar" refers to sucrose, a disaccharide of glucose and fructose. In the body, sucrose is hydrolysed into fructose and glucose.

<i>Citrus</i> genus of fruit-bearing plants (source of fruit such as lemons and oranges)

Citrus is a genus of flowering trees and shrubs in the rue family, Rutaceae. Plants in the genus produce citrus fruits, including important crops such as oranges, lemons, grapefruits, pomelos, and limes.

Banana edible fruit

A banana is an edible fruit – botanically a berry – produced by several kinds of large herbaceous flowering plants in the genus Musa. In some countries, bananas used for cooking may be called "plantains", distinguishing them from dessert bananas. The fruit is variable in size, color, and firmness, but is usually elongated and curved, with soft flesh rich in starch covered with a rind, which may be green, yellow, red, purple, or brown when ripe. The fruits grow in clusters hanging from the top of the plant. Almost all modern edible seedless (parthenocarp) bananas come from two wild species – Musa acuminata and Musa balbisiana. The scientific names of most cultivated bananas are Musa acuminata, Musa balbisiana, and Musa × paradisiaca for the hybrid Musa acuminata × M. balbisiana, depending on their genomic constitution. The old scientific name for this hybrid, Musa sapientum, is no longer used.

Economic sectors

Agriculture

Banana production accounted for 16 percent of total Belizean exports in 1999. [10]

Citrus fruits are Belize's second most important agricultural crop. [10]

Energy

Agriculture is a key part of the economy Belize farming gm.jpg
Agriculture is a key part of the economy

A major constraint on a functioning market economy in Belize continues to be the scarcity of infrastructure investments. Although electricity, telephone, and water utilities are all relatively good, Belize has the most expensive electricity in the region. Several capital projects are currently underway. The largest of these is a $15 million rural electrification program to be jointly implemented by the government and Belize Electricity Limited (BEL).

Transport

Ports in Belize City, Dangriga, and Big Creek handle regularly scheduled shipping from the U.S. and the United Kingdom although draft is limited to a maximum of 10 feet in Belize City and 15 feet in southern ports. International air service is provided by Westjet, American Airlines, Delta Airlines, Continental Airlines, Southwest Airlines, U.S. Airways, and TACA to/from gateways in Toronto, Dallas, Texas, Houston, Texas, Charlotte, North Carolina, Miami, Florida, and San Salvador.

Tourism

A combination of factors—climate, the Belize Barrier Reef (longest in the Western Hemisphere), 127 offshore Cayes (islands), excellent fishing, safe waters for boating, scuba diving, and snorkeling, abundant jungle flora and fauna, and numerous Mayan ruins—support the thriving tourism and ecotourism industry. Development costs are high, but the Government of Belize has designated tourism as its second development priority after agriculture.

In 2011, tourist arrivals totaled 888,191 (mostly from the U.S.) and tourist receipts amounted to $260 million. [11] The travel and tourism industry in 2011 directly contributed 350.6 million BZD (176 million USD) to Belize's GDP (12.0% of GDP). This primarily reflects the economic activity directly generated by industries supported by tourists, such as hotels, restaurants, leisure industries, travel agents, airlines and other transportation services. The total contribution to GDP in 2011 (including wider effects from investment, the supply chain, and induced income impacts) was 971.9 million BZD (486 million USD) (33.2% of GDP). Travel and tourism directly generated 14,500 jobs in 2011 (10.9% of total employment) and, including indirect and induced effects, supported 40,000 jobs (30.1% of total employment). [12]

Trade

A proportional representation of Belizean exports in 2015 Belize Export Treemap 2015.png
A proportional representation of Belizean exports in 2015

Belize's economic performance is highly susceptible to external market changes. Although moderate growth has been achieved in recent years, the achievements are vulnerable to world commodity price fluctuations and continuation of preferential trading agreements, especially with the U.S. (cane sugar) and UK (bananas).

Belize continues to rely heavily on foreign trade with the United States as its number one trading partner. Total imports in 2000 totaled $446 million while total exports were only $349.9 million. In 2000, the U.S. accounted for 48.5% of Belize's total exports and provided 49.7% of all Belizean imports. Other major trading partners include the European Union, Canada, Mexico, and Caribbean Community (CARICOM) member states. Belize established a preferential trade agreement with Guatemala in 2010.

Belize aims to stimulate the growth of commercial agriculture through CARICOM. Belizean trade with the rest of the Caribbean is small compared to that with the United States and Europe. Belize is a beneficiary of the Caribbean Basin Initiative (CBI), a U.S. Government program to stimulate investment in Caribbean nations by providing duty-free access to the U.S. market for most Caribbean products.

Significant U.S. private investments in citrus and shrimp farms have been made in Belize under CBI. U.S. trade preferences allowing for duty-free re-import of finished apparel cut from U.S. textiles have significantly expanded the apparel industry. EU and UK preferences also have been vital for the expansion and prosperity of the sugar and banana industries.

Belize International Business Companies

In 1990, Belize enacted the International Business Companies Act based on the British Virgin Islands model. In ten years, Belize has registered more than 15,000 IBCs. A Belizean IBC is a corporate vehicle for international financial transactions and allows the investor to engage in activities including asset protection, operating bank accounts, brokerage accounts, ship ownership, and commission arrangements.

The IBC legislation was supplemented in 1992 with the enactment of a Trusts Act which provides for both onshore and offshore trusts. [13]

Belize IBCs have the following features:

Progressive legislation

Efficient incorporation/registration

Flexibility in company structure

Privacy of identity of principals

Taxation in Belize

Data

The following table shows the main economic indicators in 1980–2017. [15]

Year198019851990199520002005200620072008200920102011201220132014201520162017
GDP in $
(PPP)
0.20 Bln.0.29 Bln.0.62 Bln.0.94 Bln.1.36 Bln.1.98 Bln.2.14 Bln.2.22 Bln.2.34 Bln.2.37 Bln.2.48 Bln.2.59 Bln.2.73 Bln.2.80 Bln.2.96 Bln.3.11 Bln.3.13 Bln.3.21 Bln.
GDP per capita in $
(PPP)
1,3671,7173,2814,3245,4566,7997,0987,1267,2547,3507,6687,7858,0177,9948,2958,4808,3298,324
GDP growth
(real)
5.0 %−1.4 %11.2 %0.7 %13.0 %2.6 %4.6 %1.1 %3.2 %0.8 %3.3 %2.1 %3.7 %0.7 %4.0 %3.8 %−0.5 %0.8 %
Inflation
(in Percent)
7.0 %4.1 %2.0 %2.9 %0.6 %3.7 %4.2 %2.3 %6.4 %−1.1 %0.9 %1.7 %1.2 %0.5 %1.2 %−0.9 %0.7 %1.1 %
Unemployment rate
(in Percent)
...............100 %94 %92 %86 %93 %88 %82 %79 %79 %77 %81 %96 %99 %

See also

Related Research Articles

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Economy of Dominica

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Geography of Belize

Belize is a small Central American nation, located at 17°15' north of the equator and 88°45' west of the Prime Meridian on the Yucatán Peninsula. It borders the Caribbean Sea to the east, with 386 km of coastline. It has a total of 542 km of land borders—Mexico to the north-northwest (272 km) and Guatemala to the south-southwest (266 km). Belize's total size is 22,966 km², of which 22,806 km² is land and 160 km² is water.

There are several ports of Belize through which boats enter.

The Economy of the Caribbean is varied, but depends heavily on natural resources, agriculture and travel and tourism

Antigua and Barbuda's economy is service-based, with tourism and government services representing the key sources of employment and income. Tourism accounts directly or indirectly for more than half of GDP and is also the principal earner of foreign exchange in Antigua and Barbuda. However, a series of violent hurricanes since 1995 resulted in serious damage to tourist infrastructure and periods of sharp reductions in visitor numbers. In 1999 the budding offshore financial sector was seriously hurt by financial sanctions imposed by the United States and United Kingdom as a result of the loosening of its money-laundering controls. The government has made efforts to comply with international demands in order to get the sanctions lifted. The dual island nation's agricultural production is mainly directed to the domestic market; the sector is constrained by the limited water supply and labor shortages that reflect the pull of higher wages in tourism and construction. Manufacturing comprises enclave-type assembly for export with major products being bedding, handicrafts, and electronic components. Prospects for economic growth in the medium term will continue to depend on income growth in the industrialized world, especially in the US, which accounts for about one-third of all tourist arrivals. Estimated overall economic growth for 2000 was 2.5%. Inflation has trended down going from above 2 percent in the 1995-99 period and estimated at 0 percent in 2000.

References

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  2. 1 2 3 "Statistics of the Nation". Statistical Institute of Belize. Retrieved 5 April 2017.
  3. "Labor Force, Total". The World Bank. Retrieved 29 November 2014.
  4. "Ease of Doing Business in Belize". Doingbusiness.org. Retrieved 2017-01-24.
  5. "Export Partners of Belize". CIA World Factbook. 2015. Retrieved 2017-04-05.
  6. "Import Partners of Belize". CIA World Factbook. 2015. Retrieved 2017-04-05.
  7. "Sovereign Ratings List". Standard & Poor's. January 6, 2017. Retrieved November 28, 2014.
  8. Burnett, John (2006).  Maya Homeland. Large Oil Field Is Found in Belize; the Angling Begins, 4 January 2007.
  9. Belize dollar
  10. 1 2 "Belize:Agriculture". Nations Encyclopedia. Archived from the original on 28 September 2008. Retrieved August 30, 2008.
  11. "Doing Business in Belize: 2012 Country Commercial Guide for U.S. Companies" (PDF). U.S. Commercial Service, U.S. Department of Commerce. Retrieved 26 November 2012.
  12. "BELIZE Travel & Tourism Economic Impact Report 2012" (PDF). World Travel & Tourism Council. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-05-31. Retrieved 2012-11-29.
  13. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2008-12-16. Retrieved 2008-10-16.
  14. http://www.offshoreprivacy.org/Incorporation.html
  15. "Report for Selected Countries and Subjects" . Retrieved 2018-09-25.