WASHINGTON, October 31, 2017 – High-income OECD economies adopted 17 key reforms during the past year, as they continue to set global best practice in the area of business innovation and efficiency, says the 15th anniversary edition of the World Bank Group’s Doing Business 2018: Reforming to Create Jobs, which monitors the ease of doing business for small and medium enterprises around the world.
Released today, the new report says that OECD’s latest reforms bring to a total of 529 the number of business improvements carried out by the 33 high-income OECD economies over the past 15 years.
The OECD area is home to seven of this year’s top 10 economies on the ease of doing business ranking, namely New Zealand (ranked first for a second consecutive year); Denmark (3); Republic of Korea (4), United States (6), United Kingdom (7), Norway (8) and Sweden (10).
“As we celebrate the 15th anniversary of Doing Business this year, it is reassuring that high-income OECD economies remain committed to set best practices and further improve the regulatory environment where improvements are needed,” said Rita Ramalho, Acting Director of the World Bank’s Global Indicators Group, which produces the report.
The reform activity in the past year focused on the Doing Business areas of Paying taxes, with six reforms, followed by Enforcing Contracts, with four reforms.
The only economies to implement more than one reform each were France and Italy. France made paying taxes less costly by lowering rates for social security and training contributions, and strengthened protections for minority investors by increasing corporate transparency. Italy also made paying taxes less costly by temporarily exempting employers from social security contributions, and made getting electricity easier by streamlining the application process and reducing the time for external works and meter installation.
New Zealand implemented one reform to make paying taxes easier by improving the portal used for online filing and payment of goods and services tax, while Spain, which also implemented one reform, did so in the area of Enforcing Contracts for the second consecutive year, reducing court fees for filing a claim.
Highlights of the OECD economies’ successes over the past 15 years include:
- Starting a Business has been the most common area of reform, with 99 of the 529 reforms of the past 15 years aimed at making it easier for entrepreneurs to register a new business. As a result, the average number of days to start a business in the OECD area has dropped to 8 days, from 37 days in 2003.
- Poland has implemented the most reforms in the past 15 years, totaling 33. For example, the number of procedures required to start a business in Poland has been reduced to five now, from 11 in 2003.
- Portugal, with 31 reforms, has been the second biggest reformer among OECD economies. Fifteen years ago, it took 78 days on average to start a business in Portugal, compared to five days now.
The full report and its datasets are available at www.doingbusiness.org