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Andorra

Basic Information

Area: 468 km²

Calling code: +376

Population: 71,822

Official Language: Catalan

Time zone: CET (UTC+1), Local time: 10:31

Overview

The Principality of Andorra, the highest country in Europe, is located on the Mediterranean slope of the Western Pyrenees, between two countries of the European Union: France and Spain. Andorra is a mountainous country with narrow valleys. It has a surface area of 468 km2 and an average altitude of over 1,996 metres.

The capital is Andorra la Vella. The country is divided into seven administrative districts or parishes: Canillo, Ordino, La Massana, Encamp, Andorra la Vella, Sant Julià and Escaldes-Engordany and the country entire population is 85.105 inhabitants. 32.962 are Andorran, the rest are foreigners, mainly Spanish (26.688), Portuguese (13.100), French (5.0879) and British (1.117).

The official language of Andorra is Catalan; however, Spanish and French are also used on a regular basis due to geographic proximity and cultural, historic and economic exchanges. English is used in commercial and financial activities.

Historically, Andorra has enjoyed a traditional government and political statutes. Based on the Agreements signed at the end of the 13th century, the valleys were positioned under the personal, joint and indivisible sovereignty of the Bishop of Urgell and the Count of Foix, presently represented by the President of the French Republic.
In 1993, the Principality of Andorra was given a modern Constitution by popular will that binds all citizens and public powers. Andorra became an independent, democratic, rightful and social State, and its political system is a parliamentary co-principality. Sovereignty resides with the Andorran people according to the Constitution.
The same year the Principality of Andorra signed an agreement with the European Community which deals with the tax treatment of the earnings on savings and on cooperation and became a member of the United Nations.

Andorra is a member of several International Organizations such as Council of Europe, OSCE, International Organization of La Francophonie and others.

This information has been kindly provided by Andorra Development and Investment

Economy

Andorra has a developed economy, a free market with a per capita income above the European average and above the level of its neighbours, Spain and France. 

The Andorran economy is focussed on services that are centred largely on the sectors of tourism, trade, property and finance. 
To provide incentives for growth and diversification, the Andorran Government, since 2006, drived through an economic reform. The General Counsel (Parliament) approved three main regulations to complement the first phase of economic openness:  The law of Companies (October 2007), the Law of Business Accounting (December 2007) and the Law of Foreign Investment (April 2008).  These regulations establish a transparent, modern and internationally comparable regulatory framework.

Towards the end of the 20th Century, the Andorran Economy was based on agriculture and livestock but the change in the economic model started to develop during the middle of the last century, the 50s and 60s, due largely to tourism.  
The tourism and trade represents the fundamental column of the economy. Around 9 millions of people visits Andorra per year. There are more than 1.400 stores, and the quality of the products and the prices are competitive. The majority of the shops are located in Andorra la Vella, Escaldes-Engordany and in El Pas de la Casa.
During the winter the affluence of tourism grows because of the snow. The ski sector generates 340 millions euros aprox. and 2.000 new jobs. There are 300 Km of slopes distributed in ski resorts: Grandvalira, Vallnord and Naturlàndia.
The Andorran banking system is characterised by a high rate of solvency due to the politics of Andorran banking entities, which is based on a strong capitalisation from the bank’s beginnings. All banks are regulated by the Andorran National Institute of Finance in accordance with the Law of 1993 regulating the financial system.
Andorra is not a member of the European Union, but enjoys a special relationship with it, such as being treated as an EU member for trade in manufactured goods (no tariffs) and as a non-EU member for agricultural products.
The official currency is the Euro and in 2013 it has the agreement with the European Commission to mint 2.3 millions.

This information has been kindly provided by Andorra Development and Investment

Infrastructure

The road system is made up of 272.5 km of roads. Andorra has 90.5 km of main roads and 182 km of secondary roads distributed about the Principality following the course of the main rivers of Andorra.

Andorra has two roads accesses, from Spain, through national road 145 linking La Seud’Urgell to the general road 1 in Spanish-Andorran frontier, or from France, through national roads 20 and 22 linking Tolouse to the general road 2 in Spanish-Andorran frontier, and entering the Principality at Pas de la Casa, Encamp Parish.
The recent construction of the Envalira tunnel (in 2002) has facilitated arrivals to the country and allows travellers to avoid driving through the Envalira Pass, which is difficult in winter.
In addition of the Public Transportation Network for international passengers, connecting with Spain and France, Andorra also has an inter-urban system of regular transportation lines that link different towns within the Principality.

There are frequent long-distance bus services to connect Andorra with the Spanish or French cities and airports. The distances to the main cities are the followings:
Barcelona at 192 km (2h 15min), Lleida 154 km (2h 25 min), Madrid at 623 km (6h), Toulouse at 183 km (2h30min) and Paris at 861 km (8h 40min).
A small airfield 12 km south of Andorra, La Seu d'Urgell Airport, is currently used by private aeroplanes and with the aim to promote the commercial flights.
In the Principality, there is also helicopter service transport.

Although there is no train station, the nearest one is only 40 km (45 min) east of Andorra, L'Hospitalet-près-l'Andorre (France); and 59 km (1h 15 min) far away Puigcerdà train station (Spain)

This information has been kindly provided by Andorra Development and Investment

Workforce

Like the rest of the European economies, Andorran economic activity is focussed mainly on services. This sector accounts for 89% of the countrie’s companies and 79% of all employment, which is the highest level among the majority of the countries of Western and Eastern Europe.

The number of jobs in 2010 was 47.979, which corresponds to 40.032 salaried jobs. 
The labour market is characterized by a high proportion of working population, 75%, compared to the 3,3% of the unemployed population. Highlights the high rate of female population, above the rates of the European Union.

The number of establishments distributed by activities are: trade representing 36% of the total, followed by the activities of business services with 16.84% and the hotel also stands out with a 13 % above the 11% construction and manufacturing industries to complete only represent 4%.
The minimum salary is 929,07 Euros (2011), while the average salary is 2.163,24 Euros.
In Andorra there are, until Secondary Education, 3 coexisting education systems: Andorran, Spanish and French, which use Catalan, French and Spanish, respectively, as the main language of instruction.
The education between 6 to 16 years old is provided free of charge by the government.

The students that have completed their studies in the Principality have the option of continuing their postsecondary education in foreign countries - mostly they go to Spain or France - or they can choose to pursue a higher degree in Andorra itself, in la Universitat d’Andorra.
One of the objectives of the University of Andorra is to meet the educational needs of the various groups within the Principality and also to act as a means of improving the professional and business level of residents. It is meant to boost the education and quality of life of Andorrans and residents and at the same time increase the competitiveness of companies. For those who cannot regularly attend classes personally, online studies in Andorra plan to follow a wide range of teachings by computer and utilizing new information techniques.

This information has been kindly provided by Andorra Development and Investment

Business Costs

Andorra enjoys a tax system which is very competitive in comparison with other countries in the European Union.

The tributary expenses to take into account since the constitution of the company and the start of business activities are: Indirect Merchandise Tax (IMI), the indirect tax on the supply of business and professional services (ISI), the indirect tax on internal production (IPI) and the indirect tax on trading activities (IAC).
Also must also satisfy the registration fee to record companies, the rate of production and import customs on goods, the tax of consumption and the tax on the registration of trademarks
With the Register of Commerce and Industry is automatically generated by the rate of economic activity, and a single annual fee.

Recently, 3 new types of taxes have been approved: the income of economic activities, income from non-residents and finally tax on business profits, all 3 with a rate of 10%.

With the approval of the General Accountancy Law in 2008, Andorra moves towards a normalisation with regards to other European countries, providing security and transparency.

The country has a social security system (CASS) that covers part of the expenses of illness and senior age. 75% of out-patient expenses (medicines and medical visits) are covered; 90% in the case of hospitalization and 100% in the case of labour accidents.

All salaried workers are required to be members of Caixa Andorrana de Seguretat Social (CASS), and the inscription is optional for non salaried residing in Andorra.
Employers’ contribution is 14.5% of declared salaries (7% illness branch, 7.5% old-age branch). Employees’ contribution is between 5.5 and 10.5% of the salary, according to the type of senior age chosen (3% illness branch, 2.5, 5 or 7.5% old age branch). Contributions by non salaried are a fixed amount revised yearly.

The rental price varies depending on which situation is chosen, the commercial center of the cap (concentrated in 2 streets) is the most expensive... But compensation is provided infrastructure (parking lots, banks, etc ...) to facilitate business development.

This information has been kindly provided by Andorra Development and Investment
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