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Economics and Business in Barbados

According to COUNTRYAAH, Barbados is among the Caribbean's most prosperous states. The country's economy has traditionally been based on sugar production, but from the first part of the 1970s tourism took over as the main source of income. Tourism accounts for more than half of the country's revenue, and every year Barbados is visited by far more tourists than there are local residents. In 2001, service industries employed 76% of the workforce and contributed approx. 80% of GDP. The financial sector with so-called upshore banking has become increasingly important. Both the sugar industry and tourism are seasonal and there is great unemployment at times and many barbades go abroad after work.

Business of Barbados

The vast majority of agricultural land is used for sugar cane. Sugar production has declined in recent years, partly as a result of reduced demand in the world market. The authorities have therefore stimulated the cultivation of other crops, including cotton (Gossypium barbadense) and tropical fruits. Otherwise, corn, sweet potatoes, carrots, yam roots and other vegetables are grown, mainly for local consumption. The primary industries employed 4.2% of the working population in 2001, accounting for 4.7% of the gross domestic product in the same year.

The industry includes manufacturing of rooms, sugar factories as well as the manufacture of chemicals, plastics and rubber products, textiles, electronic components and cigarettes. In 2001, the industry employed approx. 20% of the workforce and contributed approx. 17% to GDP. Some crude oil and natural gas are also extracted.

Foreign Trade

The main export goods are sugar, molasses and rum, chemicals, electronic components and clothing. Imports include machinery and transport equipment, food and oil products. Major trading partners are the United States, the United Kingdom and other Caricom countries, in particular Trinidad and Tobago.

Transport and Communications

Dense road network. Bridgetown has a deep water port and is the only port city of importance. Seawell International Airport at the southern tip of the island, 18 km from the capital.

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