Despite strong military presence, Mexico is the number one place to do business in Latin America. Photographer: Brett Gundlock/Bloomberg via Getty Images

By NAN Business Writer

News Americas, WASHINGTON, D.C. Fri. Nov. 20, 2015: Several economies in Latin America now rank among the best in the world to do business, according to the World Bank. So what are the 10 top nations for doing business in this region?

1: Mexico: This Latin American giant ranked number one in the region with an overall rank of 38 on the latest Doing Business 2016 ranks released by the World Bank, an increase from 42 last year. Mexico implemented multiple reforms in the past year, including improving access to credit by implementing a decree allowing a general description of assets granted as collateral. This reform applies to both Mexico City and Monterrey. It also made paying taxes easier for companies by abolishing the business flat tax and the time to do so is now down to 92 days. However, it still takes 106 days here to register a property and 67 to get a construction permit. Give yourself 65 days to get a business started.

2: Peru: Peru came in at 45 on the global ranks implementing multiple reforms in the past year. Peru improved its credit information system by implementing a new law on personal data protection while lawmakers made paying taxes easier for companies by creating an advanced online registry with up-to-date information on employees. Paying taxes now is down to 50 days from 58 but it takes 97 days now to start a business; 35 to register a property and 48 to get a construction permit.

3: Colombia: Colombia took the title this year of most improved economy to do business coming in at a rank of 54. Colombia made paying taxes less costly for companies by reducing the payroll tax rate and introducing exemptions for health care contributions paid by employers. Paying taxes now moved down from 150 days to 136. Getting credit here takes two days but starting a business however, now takes 84 while registering a property takes 54 and dealing with construction permits takes 38.

4: Panama: Panama came in at 69 overall, a drop down about three points from last year. This was based mainly on the increased time spent in doing tasks like starting a business, dealing with permits and registering a property. It now takes 44 days to get started with a business in Panama compared to 37 days last year while registering a property now takes you 84 days compared to 81. The number of days spent getting construction permits moved from 67 to 70 this year. It takes 166 days to file taxes here.

5: Costa Rica: Not only one of the happiest places on earth but now it seems a good place to do business easily as well, since it made it into the 10 top improvers list. According to the World Bank, Costa Rica implemented 39 regulatory reforms making it easier to do business to help it reach an overall rank of 79. It now takes 7 days to get credit compared to three months a year ago while paying taxes is now down from 119 days to 80. However, it takes a whopping 121 days to start a business here; 53 to register a property and 49 to get a construction permit.

On average, the region’s economies rank best in the areas of Getting Electricity (79) and Getting Credit (87). Getting a new electricity connection takes 65 days on average for an entrepreneur in the region, compared with a global average of 97 days.

The Doing Business 2016 annual report measures the regulations that enhance business activity and those that constrain it in 189 economies – from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe.

Doing Business measures regulations affecting several areas of the life of a business including the ease of starting a business, dealing with construction permits, getting electricity, registering property, getting credit, protecting minority investors, paying taxes, trading across borders, enforcing contracts and resolving insolvency.

The area where Latin America was found lacking the most is Paying Taxes. A local entrepreneur in the region spends 361 hours a year on average to prepare, file, and pay taxes, compared with 177 hours on average in OECD high-income economies.

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