Hola amigos: Puerto Rico got a 43 spot overall in the World Bank’s annual ranking of business regulations around the globe. It’s 43 out of 183 countries in the report, landing the highest spot in the Caribbean. The world’s top five countries for doing business were: Singapore, Hong Kong, New Zealand, the U.S. and Denmark.
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By : KEVIN MEAD
Puerto Rico made things easier for entrepreneurs on two fronts, but slid one spot overall in the World Bank’s annual ranking of business regulations around the globe.
The island ranked 43 out of 183 countries in the report for 2012, landing the highest spot of any Caribbean jurisdiction and trailing just Chile (39), Peru (41) and Colombia (42) in all of Latin America.
Still, the island fell from its 2011 ranking of 42.
The world’s top five countries for doing business were unchanged from last year — Singapore, Hong Kong, New Zealand, the U.S. and Denmark.
The World Bank measures and tracks changes in regulations affecting 10 areas in the life cycle of a business: starting a business (Puerto Rico’s ranking 12), dealing with construction permits (152), getting electricity (35), registering property (126), getting credit (24), protecting investors (17), paying taxes (113), trading across borders (101), enforcing contracts (97), resolving insolvency (27) and employing workers.
The report credited Puerto Rico with making starting a business easier by merging the name and search company procedures.
The World Bank also noted improvement in dealing with construction permits through the Fortuño administration’s creation of the Office of Permits Management to streamline procedures.
Puerto Rico was trailed by all other Caribbean nations including Trinidad & Tobago (68), Jamaica (88), Dominican Republic (108), Guyana (114), Suriname (158), and Haiti (174).
The bank said 125 countries improved a total of 245 business regulations in the past year, up 13 percent from the previous year.
Morocco was this year’s biggest gainer in the rankings, jumping to 94 from 115 after the North African nation simplified construction permits, allowed minority shareholders to obtain some corporate documents during trials and enhanced electronic tax filing.
South Korea leapt to 8th place from 15th by introducing an online process for starting a business, merging several taxes and filing commercial litigation electronically. Sweden fell out of the top ten to 14th.
East Asia was the best performing region with nine countries in the top 25. China slid four spots to 91 while India was 132.
Sub-Saharan Africa’s improvement was led by Sierra Leone, which advanced to 141 from 150. Mauritius at 23, and South Africa at 35, are Africa’s highest ranked countries.
Africa also has eight of the 10 lowest ranked nations, including Chad in last place.
Venezuela was South America’s lowest-ranked country at 177, the only non-African nation in the bottom nine.
In addition to Venezuela, Zimbabwe is the only other country to have made business more difficult to conduct over the last seven years.
The Puerto Rico government has been working to seize on Venezuela’s deteriorating business climate to lure investment and companies from that South American country.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.