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Andorra

Executive Summary

Andorra is an independent principality with a population of about 79,000 and area of 181 square miles situated between France and Spain in the Pyrenees mountains. It uses the euro as its national currency. Andorra is a popular tourist destination visited by over 8 million people each year (pre-pandemic) who are drawn by outdoor activities like hiking and cycling in the summer and skiing and snowshoeing in the winter, as well as by its duty-free shopping of luxury products. Andorra’s economy is based on an interdependent network of trade, commerce, and tourism, which represent nearly 60% of the economy, followed by the financial sector. Andorra has also become a wealthy international commercial center because of its integrated banking sector and low taxes. As part of its effort to modernize its economy, Andorra has opened to foreign investment and engaged in other reforms, including advancing tax initiatives. Andorra is actively seeking to attract foreign investment and to become a center for entrepreneurs, talent, innovation, and knowledge.

The Andorran economy is undergoing a process of digitalization and diversification that accelerated due to the impact pandemic-related border closures had on its dominant tourist sector.  In 2006, the Government began sweeping economic reforms. The 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 and June 2012). From 2011 to 2017, the Parliament approved direct taxes in the form of a corporate tax, tax on economic activities, tax on income of non-residents, tax on capital gains, and personal income tax. Andorra joined the IMF in October 2020, providing it access to additional resources for managing its economy. Also, as part of the post-pandemic economic recovery plan, Andorra passed Horizon 23, a comprehensive roadmap backed by 80 million euros of public funds to accelerate economic diversification into sectors like fintech, sports tech, esports, and biotech. These regulations aim to establish a transparent, modern, and internationally comparable regulatory framework.

These reforms aim to attract investment and businesses that have the potential to boost Andorra’s economic development and diversification. Prior to 2008, Andorra limited foreign investment, worried that large foreign firms would have an oversized impact on its small economy.  For example, previous regulations allowed non-citizens with less than 20 years residence in Andorra to own no more than 33 percent of a company. While foreigners may now own 100 percent of a trading enterprise or a holding company, the Government must approve the establishment of any private enterprise. The approval can take up to one month, which can be rejected if the proposal is found to negatively impact the environment, the public order, or the general interests of the principality.

Andorra is a microstate that accounts for .001 percent of global emissions and has demonstrated its ambition to the fight against climate change by establishing a national strategy that commits to reducing greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) by a minimum of 37 percent by 2030 and pursuing carbon neutrality by 2050. In addition to implementing an energy transition law, Andorra approved the Green Fund and a hydrocarbon tax to promote climate change mitigation and adaptation initiatives.

Andorra’s per capita income is above the European average and above the level of its neighbors. The country has developed a sophisticated infrastructure including a one-of-a-kind micro-fiber-optic network for the entire country that provides universal access for all households and companies. Andorra’s retail tradition is well known around Europe, thanks to more than 1,400 shops, the quality of their products, and competitive prices. Products taken out of the Principality are tax-free up to certain limits; the purchaser must declare those that exceed the allowance.

Table 1: Key Metrics and Rankings

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1. Openness To, and Restrictions Upon, Foreign Investment

2. Bilateral Investment Agreements and Taxation Treaties

Andorra has bilateral agreements with France (2003), Spain (2003), and Portugal (2007). No bilateral investment treaty exists between Andorra and the United States.

Andorra has signed Tax Information Exchange agreements for the exchange of fiscal information with 24 countries. All those agreements have been ratified and are in force.

In 2014, Andorra became the 48th signatory to the OECD Declaration on Automatic Exchange of Information in Tax Matters, which commits countries to end bank secrecy for tax evasion purposes. Andorra is a member of the OECD’s Inclusive Framework base erosion profit shifting (BEPS). Additionally, Andorra ratified the Convention to Implement Tax Treaty Related Measures to Prevent Base Erosion and Profit Shifting, which came into effect January 1, 2022. Andorra signed a Non-Double Taxation agreement with France, Spain, Portugal, Luxembourg, Liechtenstein, Malta, Cyprus, United Arab Emirates, San Marino, and Hungary and is currently negotiating other such agreements.

3. Legal Regime

4. Industrial Policies

5. Protection of Property Rights

The constitution guarantees the right to private ownership for citizens and residents. Both domestic and foreign private entities now have the right to establish and own business enterprises.

6. Financial Sector

8. Responsible Business Conduct

Andorra has taken steps to promote responsible business conduct, including Law 35/2008, which establishes a protocol for non-discrimination and equal opportunities for men and women and a gender-equality law approved in April 2022 that among other requirements sets a 60% ceiling for gender representation on governing boards.

Over the years, the Andorran banking sector has been consolidating its voluntary responsible business conduct practices, mainly through their foundations. Rather than focus on a due diligence approach to lower risks, as promoted by international guidelines such as the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises or UN Guidance on Business and Human Rights, the banking sector establishes private initiatives to promote responsible business conduct in a variety of areas like culture, sports, solidarity, education, and the environment. There are no reported cases of human or labor rights concerns related to responsible business conduct.

9. Corruption

Andorra’s laws penalize corruption, money laundering, drug trafficking, hostage taking, sale of illegal arms, prostitution, terrorism, as well as the financing of terrorism. Additional amendments were added in 2008, 2014, 2015, and 2016 to the Criminal Code and the Criminal Procedure Code that modify and introduce money laundering and terrorism financing provisions.

In 1994, Andorra joined the Council of Europe, an institution that oversees the defense of democracy, the rule of law, and human rights. That same year, the Justice Ministers of the Member States decided to fight corruption at the European level after considering that the phenomenon posed a serious threat to the stability of democratic institutions.

In early 2005, Andorra joined the Council of Europe’s Group of States against Corruption (GRECO) in its fight against corruption. Andorra has gradually built its internal regulations and relevant legal instruments and has undertaken numerous initiatives to improve the State’s response to reprehensible acts and conduct committed internally and internationally.

Andorra created the Unit for the Prevention and the Fight against Corruption (UPLC) in 2008 to centralize and coordinate actions that might concern local administrations, national bodies, and entities with an international scope. UPLC is responsible for implementing the recommendations made by GRECO.

Andorra has not signed the UN Anticorruption Convention or the OECD Convention on Combatting Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions.

There are explicitly defined rules for the ethical behavior of all participating bodies within the Andorran financial system. The Andorran Financial Authority (AFA) has also established rules regarding ethical behavior in the financial system.

The Andorran government modified and implemented new laws to comply with international corruption standards. The Andorran Financial Intelligence Unit (UIFAND), created in 2000 is an independent body charged with mitigating money laundering and terrorist funding ( www.uifand.ad ).

Resources to Report Corruption:

Unitat de Prevencio i Lluita contra la Corrupcio
Ministeri de Justicia i Interior
Govern d’Andorra
Ctra.de l’Obac s/n
AD700 Escaldes-Engordany
Phone: +376 875 700
Email: uplc_govern@govern.ad 

10. Political and Security Environment

Andorra has not experienced any politically motivated damage to projects or installations, or destruction of private property. There are no nascent insurrections, belligerent neighbors, or other politically motivated activities. The likelihood of widespread civil disturbances is very low. Civil unrest is generally not a problem in Andorra. No anti-American sentiment is evident in the country.

11. Labor Policies and Practices

All employees wishing to work in Andorra must have work permits, issued by annual quotas established by the government. The tourism sector is the largest labor sector.

The Andorran constitution recognizes workers’ rights to form trade unions to defend their economic and social interests. Alternative dispute mechanisms such as mediation and arbitration do exist. Despite these rights, union membership is relatively low.

Andorra is not a member of the International Labor Organization (ILO).

There were a total of 42,931 employed workers in Andorra in December 2021. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the unemployment rate increased from 1.8 percent in 2019 to 3 percent in 2020 but improved to 2.2 percent as of the fourth quarter of 2021. The government of Andorra approved a 3.3 percent increase in the minimum wage that went into effect January 1, 2022, bringing it to 6.68 euros (roughly USD 7.40) per hour and 1,158 euros (roughly USD 1,283) per month.

13. Foreign Direct Investment and Foreign Portfolio Investment Statistics

14. Contact for More Information

ECON Officer, Omar Medina, medinao@state.gov 
POL/ECON Specialist, Eulalia d’Ortado; OrtadoE@state.gov 
United States Consulate General Barcelona
tel. (34) 93 280 22 27

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