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Luxembourg, Economy

Republicain Lorrain, Tageblatt, euros equal, Luxemburger Wort, European Atomic Energy Community

Luxembourg is one of the world’s most industrialized countries and has a high standard of living. In 2000 the gross national product was $18.9 billion, or $43,090 per person. The national budget in 1997 included revenue of $7.5 billion and expenditure totaling $6.7 billion.

Banking, manufacturing, agriculture, and tourism are the most important economic sectors. Major manufactures include iron and steel, processed food, rubber and plastic products, metal and machinery products, paper and printing products, food products, and chemicals. In the early 1990s the annual production of pig iron totaled about 2.3 million metric tons and crude steel 3.1 million tons; dwindling iron resources and reduced demand for Luxembourg’s steel exports have weakened the metal industry since the mid-1970s. However, the growth of Luxembourg’s financial sector has compensated for the steel industry’s diminishing importance. Agriculture plays a minimal role in the country’s economy. Principal crops include barley, wheat, potatoes, oats, rye, and wine grapes. Substantial numbers of cattle, hogs, and poultry are also raised.

Luxembourg and Belgium conduct their foreign trade as a single entity. The two countries entered into a customs and currency union in 1922, and in 1948 they formed the Benelux Customs Union (now the Benelux Economic Union) with The Netherlands. Chief Belgo-Luxembourg imports include fuels, ores and minerals, chemicals, machinery and electrical equipment, motor vehicles, nonprecious metals, transportation equipment, clothing accessories, and foodstuffs. In 2000 total value was $172 billion. Exports are mainly iron and steel manufactures, textiles, chemicals, machinery and transportation equipment, food and livestock, and cut diamonds. Total value was $186 billion in 2000. Germany, France, the United Kingdom, and the United States are the principal trading partners of Belgo-Luxembourg. Luxembourg became a member of the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) in 1951. Six years later, Luxembourg, France, Belgium, West Germany, Italy, and The Netherlands signed two treaties creating the European Economic Community (EEC), now the European Union (EU), and the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom).

The monetary unit of Luxembourg is the single currency of the EU, the euro (1.07 euros equal U.S. $1; 1999 average). Luxembourg is among 12 EU member states to adopt the euro. The euro was introduced on January 1, 1999, for electronic transfers and accounting purposes only, and Luxembourg’s national currency, the Luxembourg franc, was used for other purposes. On January 1, 2002, euro-denominated coins and bills went into circulation, and the Luxembourg franc ceased to be legal tender.

Luxembourg has about 275 km (about 170 mi) of railroad and 5,189 km (3,224 mi) of roads. In 2000 the country had 750 telephone mainlines for every 1,000 people. There were 683 radios and 391 television sets for every 1,000 residents in 1997. The principal daily newspapers were the Letzebuerger Journal, Luxemburger Wort/La Voix du Luxembourg, Le Republicain Lorrain, and Zeitung vum Letzeburger Vollek, all published in the city of Luxembourg, and the Tageblatt/Zeitung fir Letzebuerg, printed in Esch-sur-Alzette.

Article key phrases:

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