Country Report Belize October 1996 Main report

Summary--Belize 4th quarter 1996.

Regional outlook for 1997-98: Friction remains between the Caribbean and the USA on a number of issues. Little substantive progress has been made with respect to regional economic integration. Economic growth prospects are modest, although new international loans may help to boost small-scale enterprise in the region.

Regional review: Several regional accords have been reached, including the establishment of a Caribbean Investment Fund and working groups for the negotiation of regional policy on major economic issues. Counter-narcotics agreements have been signed by a number of the region's countries with the USA. Sugar import quotas for the region have risen. Hurricanes have damaged several islands.

Outlook for 1997-98: A depressed economy will push the government in the direction of more expansionary policies. Falling export prices and a growth in consumer demand will place pressure on the current account.

Review: The opposition has halted a process of voter enumeration. Guatemala appears willing to reopen negotiations on the border dispute. Government borrowing has fallen as a result of the new 15% VAT, but the tax is likely to push up inflation and force greater numbers of Belizeans to cross the Mexican border for their purchases. Important new loan finance has been secured.

© 1996 The Economist lntelligence Unit Ltd. All rights reserved
Whilst every effort has been taken to verify the accuracy of this information, The Economist lntelligence Unit Ltd. cannot accept any responsibility or liability for reliance by any person on this information
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