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World Business, UK, May 12, 2006

Chile and Mexico top in Latin American business index
Source: Latin Business Chronicle
Reviewed: 12-May-06

Chile remains the best place in Latin America to do business, and Haiti the worst, according to 2006 Latin Business Index from Latin Business Chronicle.

The magazine's ranking shows that when it comes to business, size doesn't matter - Brazil, Latin America's biggest economy for instance, only scored 6th on the index, while tiny Costa Rica ranked 3rd, behind Mexico. Bolivia for its part, which has provoked concerns in the international business community after its gas nationalisation last week, was deemed second-worst.

The index looks at five key factors to rank the 19 Latin American countries:
* Macro environment
* Globalisation and competitiveness
* Business environment
* Technology level
* Political environment

Chile came top in all categories bar globalisation and competitiveness, but Brazil, which came surprisingly low in the ranking, performed badly in technology levels, macro environment and political environment (the scandals affecting 'Lula' da Silva's party).

Five out of the seven largest economies did badly - Venezuela, Colombia and Peru as well as Brazil. The exception among the big economies was Mexico: the second largest economy also came second overall in the survey.

Lack of recourse for disputes, non-enforcement of laws favourable to business and poor education and health are all factors impacting on business performance in the region.

Chile's position at the top is unlikely to be affected by the arrival to the presidency of Michelle Bachelet, who is expected to continue along market-friendly lines. Elsewhere the nationalist-leftist turn in countries across the region hides bi variations in the degree of market friendliness - Uruguay's President Tavare Vasquez has folllowed pro-globalisation policies.

Perhaps surprisingly, Venezuela and Argentina scored well on macro-economic environment despite the anti-business rhetoric of their governments, partly because of high economic growth in the past two years which is expected to continue.

Haiti's chronic instability and poverty made its position at the bottom unsurprising, likewise Chile's top spot was expected given its longstanding openness to international business. 

Source: The best and worst countries for business in Latin America
Latin Business Chronicle

Reviewed by Emilie Filou

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