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Costa Rica 2013 Blog: Regulatory Reforms in Costa Rica Boost Business Climate

Chile was one of the top performers in Latin America for ease of trading across borders. (AP Photo)

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Measures to improve Costa Rica’s business climate are making it easier to conduct business in the country, according to the World Bank’s recently released 2014 Doing Business report. Costa Rica made progress closing regulatory gaps for starting a business and dealing with construction permits, two of the 10 business indicators the study evaluates. Changes included simplifying the legalization of company books and launching an online platform to streamline the building permit process.

This year, Costa Rica jumped seven spots to 102 and ranked among the top 10 countries in Latin America for ease of starting a business. “The improvement of the country in regulatory matters for the second consecutive year demonstrates the success of the strategy outlined by the government with the support of various sectors, and changes the trend of previous years where Costa Rica was losing competitiveness due to excessive paperwork in the public sector,” President Laura Chinchilla said in a statement. Costa Rica outperformed almost all other Latin American countries for ease of trading across borders, coming in second after Panama. But, at spot 17, Costa Rica was near the bottom regionally when it comes to protecting investors.

As a region, Latin America and the Caribbean is improving its regulatory frameworks by adopting global best practices, with 17 countries adopting reforms—the highest number in the past four years. The most common types of reforms adopted in the region were those making it easier to start a new business or to pay taxes, notes the report. Colombia has improved its business framework the most since 2005, with Guatemala among the top global reformers this year. Chile continues to lead the region in the ease of doing business.

The Doing Business report assesses 189 countries based on 10 business indicators, including regulations on starting a business, trading across borders, and protecting investors.