Portugal and Malta are among the 30 least complicated countries for companies, taking the 67th and 83rd spots respectively on the ‘Global Benchmark Complexity Index’, an annual ranking table from the TMF Consulting Group, which covers 95 countries and measures the complexity that multi-national companies encounter in complying with local legislation and regulations.
It is the first time that Portugal has been included on the ranking table, and it has come off better than some of its European counterparts like neighbouring Spain (64th), Greece (58th), Belgium (48th) and Austria (23rd).
Malta, which occupied the 66th spot in 2014, having risen 17 places on the index (from 83rd), is ahead of countries like the Netherlands (68th place), Bulgaria (69th), Denmark (70th), Cyprus (72nd place), the United Kingdom (74th), Germany (75th), Luxembourg (76th) and Slovenia (79th). Ireland (95th) is considered to be the jurisdiction with the least complicated legal framework for companies, in large part due to its common law structure, stable political environment, solid political structure and favourable attitude towards businesses.
At the other end of the scale, Argentina tops the list for the third year running of the most complicated countries for businesses from the point of view of regulations and conformity, followed by Indonesia, Colombia, the United Arab Emirates, China, Mexico, Bolivia, Lebanon, Thailand and Brazil. The political instability of some of these countries, associated with the high levels of bureaucracy and limited investment in regulating structures and necessary conformities, places them among the most complicated countries in the world in which to do business.
Portugal, through the International Business Centre of Madeira, and Malta are two clear examples of success in attracting foreign investment with modern and diversified economies based on international business, particularly by providing well-regulated and modern legal systems that protect investors’ interests, as well as the simplification of procedures and reduced bureaucracy in legal, statistical, fiscal, licensing and other areas.