Top 10 Best Countries in the World for Business

The list of  the Best Countries in the world for Business is gauged by rating nations on 15 different factors, including property rights, innovation, taxes, technology, corruption, freedom (personal, trade and monetary), red tape and investor protection. Other metrics included were workforce, infrastructure, market size, quality of life and risk. Each category was equally weighted.

The data is based on published reports from Freedom House, Heritage Foundation, Property Rights Alliance, United Nations, Transparency International, World Bank Group, Marsh & McLennan and World Economic Forum.

The 10 Best Countries For Business

  • United Kingdom
  • Sweden
  • Hong Kong
  • Netherlands
  • New Zealand
  • Canada
  • Denmark
  • Singapore
  • Australia
  • Switzerland

1. United Kingdom

United Kingdom: Top 10 Best Countries in the World for Business

GDP Growth: 1.7%
GDP per Capita: $39,700
Trade Balance/GDP: -3.8%
Population: 65.1M
Public Debt/GDP: 88%
Unemployment: 4.4%
Inflation: 2.7%

“The U.K. has a globalized economy that is more open than most across the world in terms of trade, investments, capital flows and, until recently, immigration,” says Moody’s chief economist Mark Zandi.

The UK, a leading trading power and financial center, is the third largest economy in Europe after Germany and France. Agriculture is intensive, highly mechanized, and efficient by European standards, producing about 60% of food needs with less than 2% of the labor force. The UK has large coal, natural gas, and oil resources, but its oil and natural gas reserves are declining; the UK has been a net importer of energy since 2005. Services, particularly banking, insurance, and business services, are key drivers of British GDP growth. Manufacturing, meanwhile, has declined in importance but still accounts for about 10% of economic output.

2. Sweden


GDP Growth: 2.1%
GDP per Capita: $53,400
Trade Balance/GDP: 3.3%
Population: 10M
Public Debt/GDP: 41%
Unemployment: 6.7%
Inflation: 1.9%

Sweden’s small, open, and competitive economy has been thriving and Sweden has achieved an enviable standard of living with its combination of free-market capitalism and extensive welfare benefits. Sweden remains outside the euro zone largely out of concern that joining the European Economic and Monetary Union would diminish the country’s sovereignty over its welfare system. Timber, hydropower, and iron ore constitute the resource base of a manufacturing economy that relies heavily on foreign trade.

3. Hong Kong

Hong Kong

GDP Growth: 3.8%
GDP per Capita: $46,200
Trade Balance/GDP: 4.3%
Population: 7.2M
Unemployment: 3.1%
Inflation: 1.5%

Hong Kong has a free market economy, highly dependent on international trade and finance - the value of goods and services trade, including the sizable share of reexports, is about four times GDP. Hong Kong has no tariffs on imported goods, and it levies excise duties on only four commodities, whether imported or produced locally: hard alcohol, tobacco, oil, and methyl alcohol. There are no quotas or dumping laws.

4. Netherlands


GDP Growth: 2.9%
GDP per Capita: $48,200
Trade Balance/GDP: 10.5%
Population: 17.2M
Public Debt/GDP: 57%
Unemployment: 4.9%
Inflation: 1.3%

The Netherlands, the sixth-largest economy in the European Union, plays an important role as a European transportation hub, with a consistently high trade surplus, stable industrial relations, and low unemployment. Industry focuses on food processing, chemicals, petroleum refining, and electrical machinery. A highly mechanized agricultural sector employs only 2% of the labor force but provides large surpluses for food-processing and underpins the country’s status as the world’s second largest agricultural exporter.

5. New Zealand

New Zealand

GDP Growth: 3%
GDP per Capita: $42,900
Trade Balance/GDP: -2.7%
Population: 4.5M
Public Debt/GDP: 32%
Unemployment: 4.7%
Inflation: 1.9%

Over the past 40 years, the government has transformed New Zealand from an agrarian economy, dependent on concessionary British market access, to a more industrialized, free market economy that can compete globally. This dynamic growth has boosted real incomes but left behind some at the bottom of the ladder and broadened and deepened the technological capabilities of the industrial sector. Per capita income rose for 10 consecutive years until 2007 in purchasing power parity terms but fell in 2008-09. Debt-driven consumer spending drove robust growth in the first half of the decade, fueling a large balance of payments deficit that posed a challenge for policymakers.

6. Canada


GDP Growth: 3%
GDP per Capita: $45,000
Trade Balance/GDP: -2.9%
Population: 35.9M
Public Debt/GDP: 90%
Unemployment: 6.3%
Inflation: 1.6%

Canada resembles the US in its market-oriented economic system, pattern of production, and high living standards. Since World War II, the impressive growth of the manufacturing, mining, and service sectors has transformed the nation from a largely rural economy into one primarily industrial and urban. Canada has a large oil and natural gas sector with the majority of crude oil production derived from oil sands in the western provinces, especially Alberta.

7. Denmark


GDP Growth: 2.3%
GDP per Capita: $56,300
Trade Balance/GDP: 7.6%
Population: 5.8M
Public Debt/GDP: 35%
Unemployment: 5.7%
Inflation: 1.1%

This thoroughly modern market economy features advanced industry with world-leading firms in pharmaceuticals, maritime shipping, and renewable energy, and a high-tech agricultural sector. Danes enjoy a high standard of living, and the Danish economy is characterized by extensive government welfare measures and an equitable distribution of income. An aging population will be a long-term issue. Denmark’s small open economy is highly dependent on foreign trade, and the government strongly supports trade liberalization.

8. Singapore


GDP Growth: 3.6%
GDP per Capita: $57,700
Trade Balance/GDP: 18.8%
Population: 6M
Public Debt/GDP: 111%
Unemployment: 2.2%
Inflation: 0.6%

Singapore has a highly developed and successful free-market economy. It enjoys an open and corruption-free environment, stable prices, and a per capita GDP higher than that of most developed countries. Unemployment is very low. The economy depends heavily on exports, particularly of electronics, petroleum products, chemicals, medical and optical devices, pharmaceuticals, and on Singapore’s vibrant transportation, business, and financial services sectors.

9. Australia


GDP Growth: 2.2%
GDP per Capita: $53,800
Trade Balance/GDP: -2.6%
Population: 23.5M
Public Debt/GDP: 41%
Unemployment: 5.6%
Inflation: 2%

Australia is an open market with minimal restrictions on imports of goods and services. The process of opening up has increased productivity, stimulated growth, and made the economy more flexible and dynamic. Australia plays an active role in the WTO, APEC, the G20, and other trade forums. Australia’s free trade agreement (FTA) with China entered into force in 2015, adding to existing FTAs with the Republic of Korea, Japan, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, Thailand, and the US, and a regional FTA with ASEAN and New Zealand.

10. Switzerland


GDP Growth: 1.7%
GDP per Capita: $80,200
Trade Balance/GDP: 9.8%
Population: 8.3M
Public Debt/GDP: 42%
Unemployment: 3.2%
Inflation: 0.5%

Switzerland, a country that espouses neutrality, is a prosperous and modern market economy with low unemployment, a highly skilled labor force, and a per capita GDP among the highest in the world. Switzerland's economy benefits from a highly developed service sector, led by financial services, and a manufacturing industry that specializes in high-technology, knowledge-based production. Its economic and political stability, transparent legal system, exceptional infrastructure, efficient capital markets, and low corporate tax rates also make Switzerland one of the world's most competitive economies.


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