Business

Singapore retains second ranking for easiest place to do business

WASHINGTON Singapore has retained its place as second best on a World Bank ranking for the world's easiest place to do business even as the overall pace of reforms in the East Asia and Pacific region slows, the World Bank said on Wednesday.

New Zealand continues to top the global rankings.

Hong Kong moved up a notch to third place, trading places with Denmark, while South Korea stayed in fifth.

The US moved up two spots to No 6, knocking Georgia back to seventh, while the UK, Norway and Sweden made the top 10.

China and India made the top 10 list of governments that have done the most in the past year to improve the ease of doing business in their countries.

With those improvements, China leapfrogged France to take the 31st spot in the "ease of doing business" ranking, moving up 15 places, according to the World Bank report.

China was credited with improving protection for minority investors, strengthening procedures for enforcing contracts and making trade easier with changes to customs administration and port infrastructure.

"Removing barriers facing entrepreneurs generates better jobs, more tax revenues and higher incomes, all of which are necessary to reduce poverty and raise living standards," World Bank Group President David Malpass said in a statement.

India landed on the most-improved list for the third year in a row, making it easier to start a business by abolishing filing fees, lowering the time and cost of seeking construction permits and making trade easier with port improvements and an improved electronic platform for submitting documents.

The country jumped 14 places to number 63.

The other eight economies where business climates improved the most were Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Togo, Bahrain, Tajikistan, Pakistan, Kuwait, and Nigeria, the study found.

The World Bank studies reforms in 10 areas of business activity in 190 economies, including issues like construction permits, getting electricity and paying taxes. - AFP

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