Taiwan ranked 16th among 185 economies in the World Bank’s Doing Business 2013 report, up nine places from last year’s ranking to mark a record-high position.
The Washington-based organization’s annual report showed it was the first time Taiwan ranked among the world’s top 20 markets in terms of ease of doing business, citing the nation’s progress in protecting investors and the ease of dealing with construction permits.
However, a Council for Economic Planning and Development official said that there were ways for the government to improve the nation’s business environment, including adopting industrial reform policies and raising the nation’s private investment.
“The improvements would have a positive effect on the nation’s progress in signing FTAs [free-trade agreements] and the TPP [Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership Agreement],” Tso Heng (左珩), executive director of the council’s Center for Economic Deregulation and Innovation, told a media briefing.
Vice Premier Jiang Yi-hua (江宜樺), who leads the Cabinet-level task force set up to improve the nation’s business climate, issued a statement saying that the government would continue to improve the nation’s business environment, aiming to attract foreign investors and to be ranked among the world’s top 10 business environments.
However, even with an excellent business environment, the nation still needs to bring back more supply-chain companies to raise real investment, the council said.
Since 2002, the World Bank has published the annual report which looks at the regulatory environment facing businesses in 185 countries.
Over the years, Taiwan has steadily climbed up the rankings from the 61st place in 2008, to 46th in 2009, to 33rd in 2010 and 25th last year.
This year’s report showed that the area in which Taiwan had made the most significant progress was in the ease of dealing with construction permits, which jumped from No. 87 to No. 9 in the rankings.
According to the report, the improvement can be explained by the government’s policies to simplify procedures by implementing a single window for pre-construction approvals and another for post-construction approvals in its one-stop shop.
The World Bank said the changes the government made to the rules and private inspections effectively eliminated 14 procedures and 31 days from the process of dealing with construction permits.
Taiwan advanced from No. 79 to No. 32 in the category of investor protection by increasing disclosure requirements for related-party transactions and improving the liability regime for company directors in cases where such transactions are abusive, the report said.
This year, Singapore took first place for the seventh consecutive year, followed by Hong Kong, New Zealand, the US and Denmark. Japan took 24th place, while China was ranked 91st, according to the report.