Tourism, the powerhouse of Andorra's tiny but prosperous economy, accounts for roughly 80 percent of GDP. An estimated 9 million tourists (more than one-fifth of the number of visitors to Spain) visit the principality annually, attracted by its resorts, good ski facilities, pleasant summer climate, mineral waters, and duty-free shops. The small but vital banking sector—integrated with both the French and Spanish banking systems but maintaining its tax haven status—contributes substantially to the economy. In the mid-to late-1990s, the Andorran government passed a series of laws to strengthen the banking sector and deter activities such as money laundering . Retail trade is thriving, particularly in imported manufactured goods, notwithstanding the problems issuing from current EU liberalization and the substantial lowering of tariffs in competing neighboring countries that have diminished Andorra's advantages as a duty-free shopping area. The retail sector is comprised mostly of small privately-held stores.
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