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Post Info TOPIC: Singapore easiest to do business in the world; Laos the lowest in ASEAN :(

Singapore easiest to do business in the world; Laos the lowest in ASEAN :(

Morning market shopping mall in Vientiane by Singaporean businessman

Singapore is the easiest country in the world to do business in, while China is rapidly simplifying business procedures to keep it ahead of India in the global rankings, the World Bank said.

New Zealand is the second most business-friendly place, according to the annual Doing Business report, which ranked 175 economies in terms of regulations that enhance or constrain business.

“Singapore became the most business-friendly economy in the world in 2005/2006, as measured by the Doing Business indicators,” the report, released ahead of the bank’s joint meetings with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) here next week, said.

Singapore, a global manufacturing hub, regional financial centre and a pioneer in signing bilateral free trade pacts, pipped New Zealand, which was in first place in the previous report (see table).

The bank evaluated regulations facing investors in 10 categories, which included starting a business, obtaining licences, employing workers, registering property, and investor protection.

It also reviewed regulations on credit, taxes, trading across borders, enforcing contracts and closing a business. An economy’s average score determined its ranking.

Within South-East Asia, Thailand was ranked the 18th business-friendly country, ahead of Malaysia, which came in at 25th.

Other South-East Asian economies, however, fared poorly in the global rankings.

Vietnam was in 104th place, falling from 98, but the country still came in well ahead of the Philippines which was ranked 126th, down from 121, and just above the war-torn West Bank and Gaza strip.

Indonesia was in 135th place, from a previous 131st, while Cambodia was ranked 143rd and Laos was 159th, improving from its 164th finish previously.

Timore-Leste remained in the second-to-last place at 174, ahead only of Congo.

Asian powerhouse China was ranked in 93rd place, but improved sharply from 108th, reflecting the pace of reforms being carried out and making it one of the top 10 economies with the most changes to simplify business procedures.

“Watch out, rest of the world: China is a top-10 reformer,” said the report, jointly published by the World Bank and the International Finance Corp.

India, the other emerging Asian giant, was in 134th place, improving only four notches. It ranks behind Pakistan, which was in 74th place, Bangladesh at 88th and Sri Lanka at 89th. – AFP

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