Belize is Central American by location, but Caribbean by
descent. Although it is 20 years since Belize won independence
from London, it is still searching for an identity. Belizeans
like to think of their country as a bridge between Central
America and the Caribbean, a country offering the best of both
worlds, yet retaining strong individual characteristics. Belize
now faces the challenge of coping with the threats - and
promises - presented by growing global trade integration.
Twenty years after gaining independence from the UK, Belize is struggling to define itself while dealing with mounting debts. It is also trying to diversify its agricultural-based economy.
Like many of Belize's Central American neighbors, the
country depends heavily on agricultural exports. But world
commodity prices continue to fall and the World Trade
Organization is closing the door on preferential trading
agreements after ruling quotas illegal in 1997. For years, the
European Union gave preference to exports from former European
colonies over mainly US-owned Latin American producers, but has
vowed to eliminate all trading quotas by 2006.
Belize must now diversify its...
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