Sweden drops in business friendliness ranking

Sweden has fallen three places in a new report ranking countries according to how easy it is to do business.

The annual Doing Business survey, published by the International Finance Corporation (IFC), ranks economies according to 10 indicators which measure business regulations.

In the report’s 2009 edition, Sweden slipped to 17th place, down from 14th place in the previous year’s survey, placing it lowest of all the Nordic countries.

The survey covers 181 countries around the world and examines how easy it is to start and operate a business, taking into account factors including government requirements, taxes, and carrying out transactions across borders.

Sweden’s rank dropped in part because of new labour market regulations which place new restrictions on how long a company can have a worker temporarily employed, reports the Dagens Nyheter (DN) newspaper.

Previously, employers could hire someone temporarily for up to three years within a five year period. Now the limit has been reduced to two years of temporary employment.

“But the most important reason for Sweden’s drop is the lack of reforms. Too little has happened in comparison with other countries,” said the IFC’s Dahlia Khalifa to DN.

Singapore claimed the top ranking in Doing Business 2009, followed by New Zealand, and the United States.

The top-ranked European country was Denmark, which claimed fifth place, followed by the UK and Ireland.

Norway came in tenth place, Iceland in eleventh, and Finland in fourteenth place in the 2009 ranking.

Countries which demonstrated the greatest strides in creating a business friendly environment as measured by the survey include Azerbaijan, Albania, Kyrgyzstan, Belorussia, Senegal, Burkina Faso, Botswana, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, and Egypt.