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3. United States
2009 rank: #3
2008 rank: #3

While the "Doing Business" report recorded no new reforms in business regulation in the U.S. this year, the country still ranks at No. 3 for the fourth year running.

The main sector in which the U.S. leads the rest of the world is labor law: hiring and firing workers is easy, and dismissing an employee costs nothing.

The U.S. ranks highly in most other areas, with a relatively low cost and short application process to start a business, speedy importing and exporting processes, and strong investor protections.

The U.S. also boasts the fourth fastest time in the world to obtain construction permits - 40 days - thanks to its electronic filing system.

When it comes to paying taxes, however, American business owners have it relatively tough. Forty-five economies rank higher than the U.S. on the report's tax index, which considers the number of payments required per year, the time it takes to file taxes and the total tax rate.

NEXT: 4. Hong Kong

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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