Oct 25, 2012

Laos - Lao business climate improves: World Bank report

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A new report from the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the World Bank finds that Laos has improved its business climate by making it easier for entrepreneurs to start a business, pay taxes, and trade across borders.

The annual Doing Business Ranking 2013, which was released to Lao media at the World Bank office in Vientiane yesterday, shows that Laos has made paying taxes less costly for companies by reducing the corporate income tax rate.

Laos also made starting a business easier by allowing entrepreneurs to apply for tax registration at the time of incorporation, the report titled Smarter Regulations for Small and Medium-Size Enterprises highlights.

With those three regulatory reforms, Laos, alongside Mongolia, is the economy with the most reforms in East Asia and the Pacific this year, the report highlights.

“Since 2006, the Doing Business report has recorded a total of ten positive regulatory reforms that have made it easier for entrepreneurs to do business in Laos,” said the Resident Representative in Laos of IFC, the arm of the World Bank Group focused on private sector development.

“The IFC has a long-standing partnership with the government of Laos. We help to improve business laws and regulations such as the investment promotion law, which has made it easier to start a business, and the general tax law, which has made it faster and less costly for businesses to pay taxes – thereby contributing to the country’s inclusive economic growth.”

The report notes that Laos also reduced the time to export and import goods by implementing the ASYCUDA electronic data interchange system at the Thanaleng–Friendship Bridge border crossing.

“The World Bank has been working with the government of Laos to support trade reforms for more than four years now, through the Customs and Trade Facilitation Project and the Trade Development Facility,” said the World Bank’s Country Manager in Laos, Ms Keiko Miwa.

“We are glad that efforts by the government to modernise border systems, including through the deployment of ASYCUDA, are starting to make trade faster and simpler for the private sector. Laos can do more to improve its investment climate, but things are definitely moving in the right direction, and we look forward to supporting the government in this important effort.”

The report, which covers the period from June 2011 to June 2012 and which uses data for indicators that measure regulation affecting 10 key areas of the life cycle of local businesses, finds that 11 of 24 economies in East Asia and the Pacific improved business regulations in the past year.

Twenty-three economies in East Asia and the Pacific have made their regulatory environment more business-friendly since 2005. During that time, China made the greatest progress in improving business regulations for local entrepreneurs.

Singapore tops the global ranking in ease of doing business for the seventh consecutive year, while Hong Kong SAR, China, holds onto the second spot. Joining them on the list of the 10 economies with the most business-friendly regulations are, in this order: New Zealand, the United States, Denmark, Norway, the United Kingdom, the Republic of Korea, Georgia, and Australia.

Source: Vientiane Times

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