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19. Belgium
2009 rank: #19
2008 rank: #16

It used to take seven procedures and nearly two months to register a business in Belgium, but drastic reforms in recent years mean that today it now takes only three procedures and four days. As a result, new business registrations have increased 30% in the past two years.

Those changes were made thanks in part to feedback garnered from more than 2,500 businesses through "Kafka," a government program created to identify and eradicate red tape.

More recent reforms include a new law that accelerated court procedures to make commercial disputes more efficient.

Bankruptcy proceedings are also dealt with efficiently in Belgium. Foreclosure, reorganization or liquidation are over within a year and at relatively low cost. The recovery rate for creditors is impressive at 86.3 cents on the dollar.

NEXT: 20. Malaysia

Source: All data comes from "Doing Business 2009," a publication of the World Bank and the International Finance Corporation. Detailed methodological information is available at www.doingbusiness.org.
LAST UPDATE: Sep 11 2008 | 1:18 PM ET
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