Lively external trade relations 
Liechtenstein has particularly close trade relations with its 
neighbouring countries. The Principality is bound with 
Switzerland by a comprehensive network of contracts in the 
economic sector. The economic connections with Austria 
are also very diverse. The frontier commuters have become 
a very important part of Liechtenstein’s labour market. In 
1996, Liechtenstein’s industry employed more than 14,000 
persons in foreign branches, more than in Liechtenstein itself. 
Because of the small domestic market, Liechtenstein’s indus- 
try is almost entirely based on exports. The export levels 
have increased 125 times since 1950, with 14 percent going 
to Switzerland, 6 percent to the remaining EFTA countries, 
and 45 percent to the EU; the remainder is exported to other 
countries. 
The legal basis for Liechtenstein’s foreign economic relations 
is the contract with Switzerland signed in 1923 concerning 
the inclusion of the sovereign state in the Swiss customs 
region. Liechtenstein became a part of the Swiss customs 
and economic region as a result of this contract. All customs 
and trade agreements concluded by Switzerland also apply 
to Liechtenstein. 
The Conventions of EFTA and the European Economic 
Region apply to Liechtenstein, too. The member states of 
the European Coal and Steel Community concluded bilat- 
eral free-trade agreements. 
Because of very strong foreign trade relations, it is a matter 
of course that foreign trade developments are closely ob- 
served in Liechtenstein, especially the development in Euro- 
pe, but also all over the world. As regards its foreign policy, 
Liechtenstein has become more active in recent years. In 
1978, it became a member of the Council of Europe. In 1990, 
it joined the United Nations, and in 1991 it became an inde- 
pendent member of EFTA. In 1991, the population voted for 
the participation in the European Economic Region, of 
which Liechtenstein is now a member. 
Employment and social security 
The economic upswing has lead to a high grade of employ- 
ment. Since the 1950s, the country has enjoyed full employ- 
ment, unemployment has been virtually non-existent. Since 
1990, the recession has become noticeable in Liechtenstein, 
too, and it has changed the situation on the labour market. 
In comparison with other countries, the unemployment rate 
is quite low with about 2 percent. The instutitions for the 
social security of the popularion, founded during the years 
of economic upswing, have been extended to cover various 
  
risks. There are agreements in the field of the social security 
with Switzerland, Austria, the Federal Republic of Germany 
and Italy. Nowadays, Liechtenstein is one of the countries 
with a high per capita income. 
Das Zentrum von Vaduz bat sich in den vergangenen 
Jahrzehnten stark verändert. Wo früher Wohnbauten aus 
früherer Zeit die Straßen säumten, stehen heute moderne 
Bank- und Geschäftshäuser. Auf steilem Felsen thront über 
den heutigen Bauten das Schloß Vaduz als Garant des 
Bleibenden. 
Le centre de Vaduz s’est fortement transforme au cours des 
décennies passées. Là où jadis les anciens bätiments d’habita- 
tion bordaient les rues, on trouve aujourd’hui des banques et 
des magasins. Et c’est au-dessus de la ville actuelle que trône 
le château de Vaduz sur son rocher escarpé, garant de la con- 
tinuité. 
The centre of Vaduz has changed dramatically over the last 
few decades. Modern banks and office blocks line the streets 
  
where old residential buildings used to stand. Towering 
high above the city, Vaduz Castle bears witness of times 
8 3 ) 
gone by. 
  
 
        

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