SINGAPORE — APEC’s 21 member economies improved the ease of doing business in the Asia-Pacific by 8.2 percent between 2009 and 2011, exceeding their five percent target for the period and paving the way for greater economic activity in the region.
The findings were revealed in the new 2012 APEC Economic Policy Report, released on 4 October, which assesses member economies’ progress in implementing the APEC Ease of Doing Business Initiative adopted in 2009. The Initiative’s goal is to foster a 25 percent more favourable business environment in the Asia-Pacific region by 2015.
“APEC economies and stakeholders continue to work together to make doing business throughout the region cheaper, faster and easier,” said Raymond Greene, Chair of the APEC Economic Committee which produced the report.
“Capacity building and best practice exchange within APEC are advancing regulatory reforms to these ends.”
The Ease of Doing Business Initiative’s five priority areas include starting a business, dealing with construction permits, getting credit, trading across borders and enforcing contracts.
“The progress being made towards achieving APEC economies’ ease of doing business goals is significant, particularly in certain areas such as starting a business which has advanced the most in average terms,” said Dr Denis Hew, Director of the APEC Policy Support Unit which assisted in the report’s preparation.
Between 2009 and 2011, the median time to start a business in the APEC region fell 56.5 percent, from 23 to 10 days. By contrast, it fell only 12.5 percent for the rest of the world, from 20 to 18 days.
Member economies have also made considerable inroads in making trading across borders more cost effective, Dr Hew noted.
In 2011, the average cost to export a container in the APEC region was US$835, 44 percent cheaper than the US$1,486 amount for the rest of the world. And to import a container in the region it was 49 percent cheaper at US$896 compared to US$1,768 elsewhere.
“While APEC economies have clearly improved the business environment in the Asia Pacific there is still much more to be done on an individual and collective basis,” Dr Hew said. “This includes smoothing out the unevenness of progress across the region, for example, in dealing with construction permits and getting credit.”
APEC’s ease of doing business performance was evaluated based on the World Bank’s Doing Business data set.