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Asia—China and India race up ease of doing business rankings

Improving business conditions in Emerging Asia, which account for 45% of Australia’s goods and service exports, are positive for Australian exporters. India has shot up the World Bank’s annual Ease of Doing Business (EDB) rankings, climbing 23 spots to 77th out of 190 countries in the last 12 months. The rankings also represent a big leap from India’s 129th place in 2016 and put India in the top 10 most improved countries for the second consecutive year. The Modi Government’s focus on economic reform has made it easier to obtain construction permits and to trade across borders. The latter is particularly important for Australian exporters as the upgrades to east coast port infrastructure and the acceptance of the electronic submission of supporting documents should reduce the time and cost of exporting to India. Prime Minister Modi has set an ambitious target to lift India into the top 50 nations on the EDB rankings by 2020, suggesting more positive reforms ahead.

China was the other big mover climbing 32 places since 2016 to 46th place in the latest EDB report. The jump was driven by easier access to electricity, positive reforms to taxes and better infrastructure to support trade. Chinese importers can now file their documents in a single window platform, as opposed to having to submit the same documents to several government agencies, reducing import costs—a win for exporters to China. Thailand (27th from 47th), Indonesia (73rd from 90th) and Vietnam (69th from 82nd) have also recorded significant improvements since 2016.