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PRESS RELEASE October 31, 2017

East Asia and Pacific Economies Continue to Improve Business Climates: Doing Business Report

SYDNEY, November 1, 2017 – Business reforms continued at speed in East Asia and Pacific, with regional economies adopting 45 reforms during the past year, bringing to 371 the total number of private sector reforms enacted in the region over the past 15 years, says the World Bank Group’s latest Doing Business 2018: Reforming to Create Jobs report, which monitors the ease of doing business for small and medium enterprises around the world.

In its annual ease of doing business rankings, New Zealand, Singapore and Denmark retained their first, second and third spots, respectively, followed by Republic of Korea; Hong Kong SAR, China; United States; United Kingdom; Norway; Georgia; and Sweden.

“Job creation is one of the transformational gains that countries and communities can achieve when the private sector is allowed to flourish. Fair, efficient and transparent rules, which Doing Business promotes, improve governance and tackle corruption,” said World Bank Chief Executive Officer Kristalina Georgieva.

Pacific Island countries including Fiji, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Tonga and Vanuatu have all made improvements to business regulations over the last 15 years. Improvements highlighted in this year’s report included Palau, which made paying taxes easier through process enhancements, while Samoa strengthened access to credit with the implementation of the Personal Property Securities Act and by establishing a modern collateral registry.

More broadly across the East Asia and Pacific region, economies performed well in the Doing Business areas of Dealing with Construction Permits and Getting Electricity. Building a warehouse, for example, takes on average 138 days and costs 2.2 percent of the warehouse value, compared with the global averages of 158 days and 5.3 percent of the warehouse value.

Highlights of the East Asia and Pacific region’s successes over the past 15 years include:

  • Starting a Business has been the most common area of reform, with 74 of the 371 reforms of the past 15 years aimed at making it easier for entrepreneurs to register a new business. As a result, the average cost to start a business in the East Asia and Pacific region has dropped to 19 percent of income per capita, from 59 percent in 2003.
  • The region has implemented 17 reforms in the area of Resolving Insolvency over the past 15 years. Thanks to these reforms the average recovery rate has increased from 28.8 percent in 2003 to 37.3 today.
  • Vietnam and Indonesia have implemented the most reforms in the past 15 years, with 39 reforms each. Today, an entrepreneur in Ho Chi Minh City spends 22 days and 6.5 percent income per capita registering a new company, compared to 61 days and 31.9 percent in 2003. In Jakarta, the average recovery rate for resolving insolvency today is 64.3 cents on the dollar, compared to 9.9 cents in 2003.

“In the past 15 years, the East Asia and Pacific region has made significant progress in enabling entrepreneurship. As the reform momentum continues building up in the region, those economies which lag behind have the opportunity to learn from the good practices adopted by their neighbors,” said Rita Ramalho, Acting Director of the World Bank’s Global Indicators Group, which produces the report.

This year’s report includes four case studies, including one which highlights three successful insolvency reforms, in France, Slovenia and Thailand, and the lessons learned that are transferable to other economies.

The full report and its datasets are available at www.doingbusiness.org


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