Economy and Government

Economy
Curaзao’s strategic location between the Americas and its safe natural harbors has continuously allowed it to be a center of commerce and business. The 1914 discovery of oil in Venezuela gave motion for the island’s choice as the location for one of the largest oil refineries (now Isla) in the world with a production of over 225.000 barrels of crude oil a day.

The island’s economy is diversified and based on four export pillars: Tourism, International Financial Services, International Trade, and Distribution & Industry. Besides oil refining and transshipment, the offshore financial industry and tourism, Curaзao continues to seek diversification of its economy into international trade and distribution, ship repair and manufacturing. Curacao is rapidly becoming a center for internet call centers and online sports betting. Inflation in Curaзao is low by regional standards. The island’s dependence on foreign imports, due to its limited natural resources results in inflation rates in line with international rates, mainly those of the US.

E-Commerce

With the recent approval of several new laws, Curacao became one of the first countries to incorporate specially tailored e-commerce facilities in its law system. The island now is home to several call centers and sports betting companies. Visit the government’s site for more information, or contact the Curacao Chamber of Commerce through their ad banner on our homepage.

Telecommunications: Curaзao’s international code is 599-9; there are no internal area codes. All local telephone numbers have seven digits, except for some special numbers that have three or four digits. To reach another country from Curaзao you might need to dial one of the exit codes (0101, 0123 or 0144 to select a carrier, please inform at your hotel), followed by the country’s international code, the area code and the number. Most public phones work with calling cards; there are also different collect call phones installed in the city center. There are several Internet cafe’s on the island and sending wires is possible from all outlets of the Post office; call 191 for more info.

Government

The island of Curaзao is one of the five islands of the Netherlands Antilles, an autonomous part of the Kingdom of The Netherlands. Therefore, locals are Dutch nationals and carry European passports. There are two levels of administration in the Antilles; the territorial at island-level and a Central government for the five islands: neighboring Bonaire and three islands in the eastern Caribbean Sint Maarten, Sint Eustatius and Saba.

Government is a parliamentary democracy based on freedom of association, the right to form political parties, freedom of the press and freedom of speech. The Netherlands Antilles is a politically stable entity in the Caribbean region and is fully responsible for the conduct of its domestic affairs. Defense and foreign affairs are within the province of the Government of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

The Central Government takes care of state affairs and consists of three bodies: an appointed Governor as the representative of the Queen, an appointed Council of Ministers and a 22-member Parliament elected every four years on the basis of universal suffrage. The Central Government’s jurisdiction covers state affairs (legislation) and includes such areas as police, communications, taxation, public health, education, economic control, the establishment of enterprises, labor legislation, money and banking, and foreign currency.

Each of the five Island Governments is responsible for the affairs of the island territories and consists of three bodies: a lieutenant governor appointed by the Queen, an Executive Council appointed by the Island Council, which itself is elected every four years by the people. The island government manages its own territorial affairs and has the power to enact laws.

The island of Aruba is also included in the Dutch Kingdom, but achieved a so called ‘status aparte’, making it an independent member within the kingdom, with authorities equaling those of the central government of the Netherlands Antilles.