Central America: Which country is best to do business in?

Find out in which country of the region it is easiest to obtain a construction permit, where the least taxes are paid, where a creditor is more likely to recover a debt, and where minority investors are most protected.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

The World Bank has presented its Doing Business 2018 report, which measures regulations that favor or restrict business activities. Doing Business is made up of quantitative indicators measuring business regulations and the protection of private property rights that are comparable in 190 economies over time.

What is the situation in Central America? 

Costa Rica:   Although it registered a slight improvement in the general index, rising from position 62 to 61, in the category "Starting a Business", it is located in position 127 of the general ranking. To set up a company, 9 procedures must be carried out and an average of 23 days must be allocated for the process. In the categories "Obtaining credit" and "Obtaining electricity" the country achieved a better rating than its Central American counterparts, but in the category "Compliance with contracts", the results are not positive.  According to the study, resolving a dispute takes 852 days, from the moment the plaintiff decides to file a lawsuit with the court until the time of payment. See: "Costa Rica in the Doing Business 2018 Report" (In Spanish)

Panama: In the general ranking it was placed at position 79, falling nine places with respect to the Doing Business 2017 report. Despite the fall, in the category "Starting a business", the country is located in position 39, above the other Central American countries. In Panama, 5 procedures must be undertaken to register a company, in just 6 days, well above the Latin American average of 32 days.  
Panama obtained better results in the categories "Obtaining credit" and "Obtaining electricity", but in the case of "Tax Payment", the results are not so positive.  An employer must make 52 tax payments per year, and allocate 417 hours to performing this task.  See: "Panama in the Doing Business 2018 Report." (In Spanish)

Read full article (in Spanish).

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More on this topic

Doing Business in Central America: Have We Improved?

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Guatemala was the only country in the region that improved its position in the global ranking monitoring businessmen's conditions for doing business, while the others went backwards.

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The World Bank announced the results of the Doing Business 2019 report, which measures the regulations that favor or restrict the development of business activity in different countries.

Panama: Reforms to Improve Competitiveness

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The government has announced a package of 30 pro-competitive reforms implemented in the last year with the aim of improving the ease of doing business in the country.

A statement by the Presidency of Panama reads:
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Doing Business 2012 Confirms Latin America Lags Behind

October 2011

Latin America is barely ahead of Africa in quality standards and conditions affecting local businesses.

As a region, Central America, is located in the second half of the list entitled ‘Doing Business 2012’.

Doing Business 2012, a report by the World Bank this year added a new area of analysis, which is the ease of obtaining an electrical connection, along with the traditional items which include: ease of starting a business, management of construction permits, registering property , getting credit, protecting investors, paying taxes, cross border trade, enforcing contracts, and insolvency resolution.

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