WASHINGTON, October 31, 2018 – High-income OECD economies continued to steadily improve their business climate, carrying out 23 reforms during the past year, says the World Bank Group’s Doing Business 2019: Training for Reform report, released today.
The reforms were implemented in 16 of the 34 economies that make up the high-income OECD grouping, which continues to lead the world in setting global best practices in regulatory efficiency for domestic small and medium enterprises.
The OECD area is home to six of this year’s top 10 economies on the ease of doing business rankings, with New Zealand and Denmark retaining their first and third spots, respectively, for a second consecutive year; Republic of Korea (5); Norway (7); United States (8); and United Kingdom (9).
The reform activity in the past year focused on the Doing Business areas of Enforcing Contracts and Paying Taxes, with seven and four reforms, respectively.
“The steady pace of reforms in the OECD economies is welcome as these economies lead the world in setting best practices. Improvements to the business regulatory environment demonstrates a commitment to continuous innovation,” said Rita Ramalho, Senior Manager of the World Bank’s Global Indicators Group, which produces the report.
France and Lithuania carried out three reforms each. For the first time, France carried out a reform to make Getting Electricity easier by streamlining the application process and reducing the time for completing the external works. It now takes 53 days to obtain a connection to the grid, compared with 71 days earlier. France also made Registering Property easier by implementing an electronic registration system and improving efficiency at the land registry, and Paying Taxes was made less costly.
Reforms in Lithuania included strengthening minority investor protections by enhancing disclosure requirements; and exporting and paying taxes were made easier. Along with Poland, Lithuania has been a top reformer in the OECD area, with 34 reforms carried out in each economy since the inception of Doing Business in 2003.
Belgium implemented two reforms to strengthen access to credit and make it easier to resolve insolvencies. As a result, Belgium advanced into the top 50 economies, in 45th place.
Reforms in other OECD economies included Canada, Chile, Denmark, Ireland, Poland, Slovak Republic and Slovenia, where improvements made contract enforcement easier.
Doing Business collected data this year on training provided to both public officials and users of business and land registries. A case study in the report, which analyzes this data, finds that mandatory and annual training for relevant officials is associated with higher business land registry efficiency. A second study, on enforcing contracts and resolving insolvency, examines the education and training that judges receive worldwide. It features initiatives from the European Union and the International Organization for Judicial Training. In recent years, efforts have been made—mainly by the European Union and national judicial schools meeting at international fora—to establish a set of common principles of judicial training. Although these principles are not accepted international standards, they represent a first effort toward convergence by interested stakeholders. Two other case studies focus on the benefits of accrediting electricians and training customs clearance officials.
The full report and its datasets are available at www.doingbusiness.org