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Israel jumps 14 spots in World Bank’s annual ‘Doing Business’ report

Progress made in tax reforms, access to credit, ease of cross-border trade and corporate registrations, study says

Luke Tress is a video journalist and tech reporter for the Times of Israel

Illustrative: People watch a board showing price fluctuations at the Tel Aviv stock exchange. (Moshe Shai/FLASH90)
Illustrative: People watch a board showing price fluctuations at the Tel Aviv stock exchange. (Moshe Shai/FLASH90)

Israel jumped from 49th to 35th place in an annual report released Thursday ranking countries by their ease of doing business.

The World Bank Group’s “Doing Business 2020” report on 190 economies looks at how regulations allow for freedom of doing business. The report says that there is a causal relationship between a country’s economic freedom and its GDP.

The study looks at regulations including those related to starting businesses, obtaining construction permits, getting electricity, registering property, paying taxes and getting credit.

Israel was one of 42 economies that made the biggest improvements, with positive changes across three or more categories.

Israel made starting a business easier by allowing for joint registration of corporate tax and value added tax, improved access to credit information, made paying taxes easier and reduced the corporate income tax rate, and made trading across borders easier.

Last year, Israel advanced from 54th to 49th place.

Commenting on the release of the report, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised Israel’s progress as “a very great jump.”

“There is still a way to go but the work that has been done by the Finance Ministry, including the Accountant General, the Justice Ministry and our ministry is a very welcome effort that is changing the face of the Israeli economy. This is an important achievement. It must be continued,” Netanyahu said.

Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon said: “It seems that lowering taxes is one of the most important parameters in jumping us forward in the ranking. But this is great news for the Israeli economy. It is a signal. The messages are also for global markets and international investors: Come invest here. It is much easier to do business; there is much less bureaucracy.”

New Zealand ranks in first place, followed by Singapore, Hong Kong and Denmark. The US stands at sixth place, the UK at 8th, and Canada at 23rd.

Israel is just below France, Turkey and Azerbaijan, and above Switzerland, Slovenia and Rwanda.

In last place were Venezuela, Eritrea and Somalia.

The report found that developing economies are gaining ground on more advanced economies but that the gap between the two remains wide.

Worldwide, 115 economies made regulatory changes favorable to businesses. Among the countries that made the most progress were Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Bahrain.

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