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Hong Kong ranked world's fifth easiest place to do business
      Hong Kong ranked the fifth in the World Bank's Doing Business 2018 Report released yesterday (October 31). The Report once again re-affirmed Hong Kong's position as one of the world’s easiest places to do business. The World Bank commends Hong Kong for successful implementation of reform measures to make doing business easier, namely improving the quality of the land administration system by enhancing its reliability and establishing a complaints mechanism.
     "In the past ten years, Hong Kong has maintained its position among the world's top ranking economies in the Doing Business Report, re-affirming our incessant efforts in business facilitation," a government spokesman said.
     "The Government would strive to cut red tape, eliminate outdated or unnecessary regulations on business, enhance regulatory efficiency and reduce business compliance costs, with a view to further improving the ease of doing business in Hong Kong," he added.
     The report compares the ease of doing business in 190 economies across 10 indicators. Hong Kong performs well in four indicators, namely "starting a business" (third), "paying taxes" (third), "getting electricity" (fourth) and "dealing with construction permits" (fifth).

      This year, Hong Kong's ranking slipped one place to the fifth as compared with last year. It is mainly due to the lower score in the framework of "resolving insolvency" for the corporate sector. The spokesman said, "The Government will strive to ensure that the corporate insolvency regime keeps up with international standards and development trends, and review related policy, legislation and practice from time to time for more effective processing of winding-up cases and better protection of creditors.  The Government is also preparing a Bill for the introduction of a statutory corporate rescue procedure which will help strengthen the relevant regime."

     On the World Bank's remark that Hong Kong made starting a business more expensive by reintroducing the registration fee, the spokesman said, "The cost of starting a business in Hong Kong has always been low and the business registration fee has been frozen for the past 20 years. In light of the economic environment at that time, the Government waived the business registration fee in 2016/17 as a one-off relief measure to support enterprises. The business registration fee was merely reverted to the normal level on April 1, 2017, which was still a low level."

      The Government will study the report thoroughly to identify scope for further improving the business environment in Hong Kong. The Government will continue to work closely with the business sectors and other stakeholders, with a view to reforming the existing regulatory regimes to ensure that regulation is appropriate.
Ends/Wednesday, November 1, 2017
Issued at HKT 7:30
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