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Mercopress, Uruguay, May 18, 2008

Good year for business in LatinamericaUruguay ranked fourth in the best country in Latin America to do business listing, according to the second annual Latin Business Index from Latin Business Chronicle. The index has Chile again at the top and Venezuela at the bottom of the 19 countries list.
The index of 19 countries looks at five key categories and 28 subcategories to measure the recent, current and future business environment in a country. They are: Macro Environment (GDP growth 2006 and 2007, estimated growth this year and forecasted growth next year, GDP per capita and inflation 2006 and 2007, estimated inflation this year and forecasted inflation next year); Globalization & Competitiveness (globalization, competitiveness, tariffs and education/ health); Corporate Environment (corporate tax rates, access to capital for entrepreneurs and ease of doing business, including starting and closing a business); Socio-Political Environment (political freedom, economic freedom, political stability, political outlook, business policies of government, corruption and security for companies and businessmen) ;Technology Level (PC, Internet, wireless and fixed telephony penetration).

Uruguay showed the leading position in technological development; third in political environment and fourth in corporate environment.

Panama follows Chile as the best place in Latinamerica to make business, followed by Peru, Uruguay and Dominica Republic. The region’s leading economies, Mexico figures sixth and Brazil, ninth.

However Uruguay in the 2007 reports was in overall third place, behind Mexico.

Venezuela remains at the bottom of the list with the worst macroeconomic and corporate environment and in globalization and competitiveness. Venezuela ranks with the second highest inflation in the world.

Latin Business Chronicle says regional economies may be slowing down slightly from 2007 and the US sub prime crisis looms, “but the corporate sector in the region is anything but bullish, thanks to another strong year”.

“In general, the South American economies remain strong” says Maureen Kempston Darkes president of General Motors’ Latin America, Africa and Middle East division. “GM and the industry [were] expected to hit record sales volumes in 2007, and the growth is expected to continue in 2008. With our global product portfolio, GM is well-positioned to take advantage of this growth.”

Latin America’s combined economy is expected to grow by 4.3% this year according to the International Monetary Fund predicts. The World Bank and the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (Cepal) are slightly more optimistic, forecasting growth of 4.5% and 4.9%.

Latin Business Chronicle quotes Peter Rösler, deputy general manager of German business group Ibero-Amerika Verein who anticipates that by the end of 2008 the region will “have grown by around 30% since 2004” adding that the combined economies of Latin America have “the dimension of Germany or China.”

Meanwhile, US firms have invested ten times as much in Latin America as they have in China, points out John Murphy, executive vice president of the Association of American Chambers of Commerce in Latin America (AACCLA), an organization that represents more than 80% U.S. investment in Latin America. “Business will push ahead in the Americas [this] year, investing, trading, and creating jobs” he underlines.


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