Washington, D.C., October 23, 2012—A new report from IFC and the World Bank finds that Lao PDR has improved its business climate by making it easier for entrepreneurs to start a business, pay taxes, and trade across borders. With those three regulatory reforms, Lao PDR, along side Mongolia, is the economy with the most reforms in East Asia and the Pacific this year.
Released today, Doing Business 2013: Smarter Regulations for Small and Medium-Size Enterprises finds that Lao PDR has made paying taxes less costly for companies by reducing the corporate income tax rate. Lao PDR also made starting a business easier by allowing entrepreneurs to apply for tax registration at the time of incorporation.
“Since 2006, the Doing Business report has recorded a total of ten positive regulatory reforms that have made it easier for entrepreneurs to do business in Lao PDR,” said Aimilios Chatzinikolaou, Resident Representative in Lao PDR for IFC, the member of the World Bank Group focused on private sector development. “IFC has a long-standing partnership with the government of Lao PDR. We help to improve business laws and regulations – such as the investment promotion law, which has made it easier to start a business, and the general tax law, which has made it faster and less costly for businesses to pay taxes -- thereby contributing to the country’s inclusive economic growth.”
The report notes that Lao PDR also reduced the time to export and import goods by implementing the ASYCUDA electronic data interchange system at the Thanaleng–Friendship Bridge border crossing.
“The World Bank has been working with the government of Lao PDR to support trade reforms for more than four years now, through the Customs and Trade Facilitation Project and the Trade Development Facility,” said Keiko Miwa, the World Bank’s Country Manager in Lao PDR. “We are glad that efforts by the government to modernize border systems, including through the deployment of ASYCUDA, are starting to make trade faster and simpler for the private sector. Lao PDR can do more to improve its investment climate, but things are definitely moving in the right direction, and we look forward to supporting the government in this important effort.”
The report, which covers the period from June 2011 to June 2012 and which uses data for indicators that measure regulation affecting 10 key areas of the life cycle of local businesses, finds that 11 of 24 economies in East Asia and the Pacific improved business regulations in the past year.
Twenty-three economies in East Asia and the Pacific have made their regulatory environment more business-friendly since 2005. During that time, China made the greatest progress in improving business regulations for local entrepreneurs.
Singapore tops the global ranking on the ease of doing business for the seventh consecutive year, while Hong Kong SAR, China, holds onto the second spot. Joining them on the list of the 10 economies with the most business-friendly regulations are, in this order: New Zealand; the United States; Denmark; Norway; the United Kingdom; the Republic of Korea; Georgia; and Australia.
About the Doing Business report series
Doing Business analyzes regulations that apply to an economy’s businesses during their life cycle, including start-up and operations, trading across borders, paying taxes, and protecting investors. The aggregate ease of doing business rankings are based on 10 indicators and cover 185 economies. Doing Business does not measure all aspects of the business environment that matter to firms and investors. For example, it does not measure the quality of fiscal management, other aspects of macroeconomic stability, the level of skills in the labor force, or the resilience of financial systems. Its findings have stimulated policy debates worldwide and enabled a growing body of research on how firm-level regulation relates to economic outcomes across economies. This year’s report marks the 10th edition of the global Doing Business report series.