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9. Australia
2009 rank: #9
2008 rank: #10

Despite having made no significant reforms in 2007 and 2008, Australia has maintained its place among the top 10 economies for doing business thanks in part to its easy online business start-up system, which takes only two procedures and two days to register a new venture. Multiple reforms in the past five years have also made labor regulation more flexible.

The pros of doing business in Australia include relatively easy access to credit, strong legal rights for borrowers and lenders, and efficient bankruptcy proceedings.

The main cons for business owners Down Under are a tedious construction permit application processes (requiring 16 procedures and 221 days, on average) and limited protections for investors (director liability laws are very weak, for example.) Paying taxes is also a burden, requiring 107 hours to make 12 payments a year that eat up more than 50% of profits.

NEXT: 10. Norway

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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