Vietnam slips in World Bank business-friendly rankings

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Vietnam fell eight spots in terms of ease of doing business this year, even though the country has improved its ability to protect investors, a new World Bank survey found.

The country came in at 98 out of 183 economies this year, according to Doing Business 2012, an annual survey published by the International Finance Corporation and the World Bank.

Last year Vietnam has earned a spot among the 10 most-improved economies in the ease of doing business category, moving up 10 places to 78. The position has been revised down to 90.

The survey ranks economies in 10 categories, such as starting a business, resolving insolvency and trading across borders. This year's rankings have expanded to include indicators on getting electricity.

Vietnam only improved in two categories dealing with construction permits and protecting investors. "Vietnam strengthened investor protections by requiring higher standards of accountability for company directors," according to the survey.

Six of the ten areas worsened, with "paying taxes" taking the biggest hit, falling sharply to 151 from 129. The World Bank said it takes businesses in Vietnam 941 hours per year to pay taxes and the total tax rate is 40.1 percent of profit.

On average, it takes 44 days to start a business in the country, but dealing with construction permits requires 200 days, the survey found.

Singapore led on the overall ease of doing business, followed by other economies like Hong Kong, New Zealand, the US, and Denmark. Morocco improved its business regulation the most compared to other economies, climbing 21 places to 94.

Over the past six years, 163 economies have made their regulatory environment more business-friendly, the Doing Business survey said, naming China, India, and Russia as among the 30 economies that improved the most over the period.

Vietnam  fell six places to the 65th spot on the latest World Economic Forum's competitiveness rankings in September. The fall came after a giant stride of 16 places in 2010.

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