The 2012 Ease of Doing Business Survey rates Thailand 19th out of 183 countries, and fourth in Asia, behind Singapore, Hong Kong and South Korea.
The survey, compiled by the World Bank and its subsidiary, the International Finance Corporation, looks at local firms’ ability to do business, looking at factors affecting everything from start-up to handling insolvency. Ease of business for foreign firms is not covered by the survey.
The report’s findings were collated by collecting information on changes in legal frameworks, administrative procedures and technical obstructions to starting or growing a business.
The Bank also gathered information from public institutions, universities, legal experts and entrepreneurs to measure trading conditions.
A release from the bank noted that the overall business environment worldwide has been improving. “The global report shows that governments in 125 economies out of 183 [that were] measured implemented a total of 245 business regulatory reforms – 13 per cent more reforms than in the previous year.
“Over the past six years, 163 economies have made their regulatory environment more business-friendly. China, India, and the Russian Federation are among the 30 economies that improved the most over time.”
That said, the statement admitted that the survey “does not measure all aspects of the business environment that matter to firms and investors.
“For example, it does not measure security, macroeconomic stability, corruption, the level of skills, or the strength of financial systems.”
It added, however, “Its findings have stimulated policy debates in more than 80 economies and enabled a growing body of research on how firm-level regulation relates to economic outcomes across economies.”
Thailand excelled in four areas in the 2012 survey: It was 14th overall in terms of dealing with construction permits; ninth for getting electricity; 13th in terms of protecting investors; and 17th for ease of trade across borders.
However, comparison with last year’s scores shows that in almost all aspects Thailand has become less business-friendly than last year, when it placed 16th – one place higher in the overall rankings.
It dropped a few points in terms of getting electricity, getting credit, protecting investors and resolving insolvency. It fell six places in its score for paying taxes and 10 places for ease of registering property.
The saving grace was a 19-place jump for ease of starting a business.
The full results can be seen here.