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Doing Business 2010: Latin America Steps Up Business Regulatory Reform; Colombia Continues Four-year Streak as Region’s Top Reformer

In Washington, D.C.:

Nadine Ghannam
Phone: +1 (202) 473-3011

Washington, D.C., September 9, 2009—In a record year worldwide, Latin America intensified its business regulatory reform efforts to expand opportunity for local firms, according to Doing Business 2010: Reforming through Difficult Times.

The seventh in a series of annual reports published by IFC and the World Bank, the report found that between June 2008 and May 2009, 14 of 20 economies in the region implemented regulatory reforms.
Colombia is the region’s leading reformer, ranking at 37 of 183 global economies in terms of overall ease of doing business. Colombia is also among the world’s 10 most active reformers—for the fourth time in seven years. Colombia reformed in eight of the 10 regulatory areas assessed by Doing Business. It facilitated business start-up, improved access to credit, expedited trade, strengthened investor protections, and simplified construction permits, property registration, and tax payments.

Peru, the region’s runner-up reformer, moved up to 56 from 65 in the global ease of doing business ranking by implementing reforms in six of the 10 areas measured by the report. It reformed business start-up, property registration, and contract enforcement, made it easier to pay taxes, and sped up international trade.

“Latin American economies have continued to implement regulatory reforms, with efforts intensifying this year,” said Sylvia Solf, lead author of the report. “The region’s most popular reforms involve starting businesses, dealing with construction permits, trading across borders, registering property, and creating online systems to pay taxes. Seven economies made it easier to start a business, four made it easier to trade, and another four made construction permits more efficient,” she added.

As part of its program to simplify business licensing, Brazil made it easier to start a business, as did Argentina, Colombia, Guyana, Honduras, Mexico, and Peru. Guyana and Paraguay shortened trade times by introducing electronic declaration systems; Paraguay also added a risk-based inspection system.

Other active reformers in the region include Guatemala, which improved property registration and remains Latin America’s best performer on ease of registering property, made it easier to deal with construction permits, and expanded access to credit by improving credit information and creating a collateral registry for movable assets. Mexico introduced electronic filing to simplify tax payments, while Panama eased dealing with construction permits and expedited property transfers.

This year, there were 4 new reformers among the global top 10: Liberia, the United Arab Emirates, Tajikistan and Moldova. Others include Rwanda, the top global reformer this year, Egypt, Belarus, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, the Kyrgyz Republic, and Colombia.

Doing Business analyzes regulations that apply to an economy’s businesses during their life cycles, including start-up and operations, trading across borders, paying taxes, and closing a business. Doing Business does not measure all aspects of the business environment that matter to firms and investors. For example, it does not measure security, macroeconomic stability, corruption, skill level, or the strength of financial systems.

About the World Bank Group
The World Bank Group is one of the world’s largest sources of funding and knowledge for developing countries. It comprises five closely associated institutions: the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and the International Development Association (IDA), the International Finance Corporation (IFC); the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA); and the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID). Each institution plays a distinct role in the mission to fight poverty and improve living standards for people in the developing world. For more information, please visit,, and

For more information about the Doing Business report series, please visit:

For more information on Doing Business 2010, please contact:

Nadine Ghannam +1 (202) 473-3011                     Rebecca Ong +1 (202) 458-0434
E-mail:                                    E-mail:

Contacts for region-specific queries on Doing Business 2010:
Latin America and the Caribbean
Adriana Gomez +1 (202) 458-5204                         Gabriela Aguilar +1 (202) 473-6768
E-mail:                                            E-mail: