countryaah, the foundations of the Marshall Islands business
community consist of aid, service industry and
self-sustaining agriculture; Of these, the service sector is
clearly dominant. Outside of the official economy, most are
engaged in agriculture and fishing. Kopra, coconut oil and
in recent years also seagrass is exported. Trade and hotel
and restaurant operations are the most important activities
in the monetary economy; The tourists are few, but the US
military is many. Renting the US rocket base at Kwajalein is
an important source of income. Majuro has one yard, but
otherwise there is little industry. International airports
are located at Kwajalein and Majuro.
In June 1997, resistance in the United States and from
environmental movements meant that the nuclear waste
landfill project was finally demolished. Instead, the
government proposed to transform the islands into a "tourist
paradise" and announced plans to build a large complex of
hotels and casinos, funded by South Korean capital.
The Marshall Islands, along with 23 other Pacific
countries, signed an agreement on the protection of fishery
resources that month.
In February 1998, the Asian Development Bank welcomed the
state reforms which included had meant a reduction in
government spending and a 25% reduction in the number of
public servants. According to the government, the reduction
was linked to the cessation of the country's status as a
free associate state in 2001. causes US assistance to cease.
Nevertheless, inflation continued to rise, reaching 10%. In
June, the government decided to reduce the salaries of state
employees by 12½%, which triggered protests. Still, the
authorities failed to reduce the government budget deficit.
In the November 15 parliamentary elections, the United
Democratic Party (UDP) opposition party received 18 of the
33 seats. In January 2000, Kessai Note was elected
President. He had until then been the spokesman for
Parliament (Nitijela). Note stated that in his work he would
concentrate on fighting corruption. This was a consequence
of the international anti-money laundering working group
placing the country among those with the greatest problems
of this kind. At the November 2003 parliamentary elections,
the UDP regained the majority of seats in parliament. Note
was re-elected as President. He declared that he would
concentrate his efforts on fighting corruption and money
laundering. Marshall Islands has an international reputation
for money laundering.