Except for warehouses and shops in Belize City, open markets still predominate in Belize. The domestic market is limited by high labor and energy costs. Small industries include cigarettes, beer, dairy products, and agricultural processing. Many residents shop in Mexico and Guatemala where prices for goods and services are lower. Within the country, most consumer goods are imported from the United States and Mexico. Since 1987, the government has maintained price controls on some basic items, such as bread, flour, rice, and fuel. An 8% sales tax applies to most goods (basic food items are exempt). A 12% sales tax applies to petroleum products, alcohol, and tobacco.
Normal business hours in Belize cities are 8 AM to noon and 1 to 5 PM , Monday through Friday. Banks are open from 8 AM to 1 PM , Monday through Thursday, and from 8 AM to noon and 3 to 6 PM on Fridays.