East Europe attracting U.S. companies
Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan, seen at night. Azerbaijan is one of several East European countries that have become attractive to American countries.
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Bob Moon: Advocates of relaxing business regulation keep telling us if corporations don't get some relief, they'll start taking their business somewhere else -- as in, to some other country. So where are they most likely to go? A new survey suggests some of the more attractive reforms are coming out of such places as Azerbaijan, Albania and Belarus. The World Bank says they're among the leading countries making improvements to their business regulations. Marketplace's John Dimsdale has more.
John Dimsdale: Eastern Europe has gradually overtaken fast-growing East Asia as the region with the most regulatory reforms. The World Bank report, called Doing Business 2009, looks at the 10 categories, such as how easy it is to start a business, get a license, hire workers or file for bankruptcy. Some African countries are showing improvements, like Senegal and Burkina Faso. But the stars are the countries just east of the European Union. Sabine Hertveldt, the report's co-author, says these countries have a special incentive to reform.
Sabine Hertveldt: One of the factors that are driving this is of course the integration into the European Union, which makes certain reforms necessary to join the EU. But also to compete with the already established EU member countries.
Georgia made the up and coming list too, but that was before the Russian invasion. On the overall ease of doing business list ranking 181 economies, Singapore, New Zealand and the United States are the top three for the third year in a row.
In Washington, I'm John Dimsdale for Marketplace.