Each year the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation ranks the world economies on their openness of doing business. Called the Ease of Doing Business Index, it ranks countries on 10 topics related to doing business in that country, from availability of electricity, to credit, taxes and even the ease of dealing with construction permits. While the U.S. comes in at number four, the nearest Latin American country is Chile at number thirty-nine with Peru following up at number forty-one.
As a company that works closely with Latin America and has international offices, these are definitely key data points that go into our decision-making process. Weighing these important rankings, as well as doing one’s own research are key in making an informed decision about where to do business. Even though Chile may be the top-ranked for the Latin America & Caribbean region, when taking into account the lengthy travel time from the U.S. and one of the higher payroll costs in the region, it might make sense to take a closer look at #6 Mexico for proximity to the U.S. or #8 Panama for the top ranking in ease of trading across borders.
While Chile at #1 and Venezuela at #32 (last place) do not come as much of a surprise, seeing Brazil (#26) and Costa Rica (#25) below always troubled Guatemala (#18) will come as a surprise to many. Colombia has consistently been climbing the rankings after years of instability to reach #3, which deserves mention, and our neighbor Mexico, although currently enduring unique struggles, continues to be a very good option for the Americas at #6. As with each country, more research is needed, but IFC Doing Business (LINK http://doingbusiness.org ) offers great resources to get you started. Have a look at the 2011 Ease of Doing Business Rankings.