The government generally encourages the increasing diversification of industry and the development of tourism. The principality's low taxes and highly secret banking system are attractive to foreign corporations wanting to safeguard patents and trademarks and to individuals who want to protect their wealth for the future. Thousands of corporations have established nominal headquarters in Liechtenstein. In recent years, the principality is accused of serving as a center for money laundering. In 2002, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) conducted an Offshore Financial Center (OFC) Assessment of Liechtenstein, to evaluate the regulation and monitoring of the country's financial center. The IMF approved of Liechtenstein's efforts to fight money laundering and the financing of international terrorism, and of its planned establishment of an independent supervisory authority.
Research and development is a driving force of Liechtenstein's economic success; in 2000, total research and development spending rose over 20% to around $149 million.
Liechtenstein is a member of the European Economic Area (EEA).