Betting on the High Rollers

Sep 1, 2001

Belize is looking to diversify away from traditional agricultural exports to manufactures and Internet-based services. Online gaming could be a lucrative niche.

From colonization to independence, Belize has grown increasingly dependent on agricultural exports, especially bananas, sugar and citrus. Preferential export arrangements with the United States and the European Union deepened this dependency. With global commodity prices down sharply and the end to special export agreements fast approaching, Belize is trying to diversify away from traditional exports. It is seeking to export profitable and value-added products that can survive without exclusive trade arrangements, and that are less vulnerable to the region's climate, especially hurricanes. Belize is establishing export-processing zones to attract foreign and local investment. These duty free zones are industrial parks used to store, manufacture and export merchandise or services without incurring national taxes. Raw materials can originate from within the country, as is the case of shrimp hatching or fishing, or can be imported with no tax,...

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