Friday, November 27, 2009

Thailand's relatively flexible labor

Thailand's relatively flexible labor regulations enhance overall employment and productivity growth. The non-salary cost of employing a worker is low, and dismissing a redundant employee is not burdensome. Regulations related to the number of work hours are quite flexible.
Corruption is perceived as significant. Thailand ranks 84th out of 179 countries in Transparency International's Corruption Perceptions Index for 2007, a steep drop from 2006. Allegations of customs irregularities continue. The lack of administrative transparency is attributable to Thailand's complex hierarchical system of laws and regulations. The government is trying to make the evaluation of bids and awarding of contracts more transparent. Convictions of public officials on corruption-related charges are rare.

Thailand’s economic

Thailand’s economic freedom score is 63, making its economy the 67th freest in the 2009 Index. Its score is 0.7 point better than last year, reflecting improvements in three of the 10 economic freedoms. Thailand is ranked 10th out of 41 countries in the Asia–Pacific region, and its overall score is higher than the world average.

Showing a moderate degree of resilience, Thailand has continued its steady economic growth in recent years. The regulatory environment has become more efficient and streamlined. Opening a business takes less time than the world average, and overall licensing procedures are simple and transparent. The financial sector continues to be strengthened and is more open to competition. Private property is generally protected, although the judiciary is subject to inefficiency and corruption.

Thailand scores less well in monetary freedom, investment freedom, and freedom from corruption. Though inflation is moderate, the government directly subsidizes the prices of a number of staple goods. Foreign investment is subject to a variety of serious restrictions that are not enforced uniformly. Corruption is significant, although not as extensive as in many neighboring countries.

Australia's labor market

Australia's labor market operates under highly flexible employment regulations that enhance employment creation and productivity growth. The non-salary cost of employing a worker can be moderate, and dismissing a redundant employee is costless.
Corruption is perceived as minimal. Australia ranks 11th out of 179 countries in Transparency International's Corruption Perceptions Index for 2007, and the government actively promotes international efforts to curb the bribing of foreign officials.

Australia's well-developed and highly competitive financial sector

Australia's well-developed and highly competitive financial sector provides a wide range of products and services through advanced banking, insurance, and equity industries. Government regulation of banks is minimal, and foreign banks, licensed as branches or subsidiaries, offer a full range of banking operations. As of October 2007, Australia had 55 licensed financial institutions: 14 Australian-owned banks and 41 foreign-owned banks. An additional 20 foreign banks have maintained representative offices. Though it has regulatory power to set lending policies and interest rates, the central bank has not exerted this authority since the deregulation of financial markets in the 1980s. There are no government-owned banks, and banks are highly competitive. Foreign insurance companies are permitted, and regulation is focused on capital adequacy, solvency, and prudential behavior. With 1,900 entities listed and their total market capitalization of over $900 billion, the Australian Stock Exchange is the world's eighth largest.

Australia's economic

Australia's economic freedom score is 82.6, making its economy the 3rd freest in the 2009 Index. Its overall score is 0.4 point higher than last year, primarily reflecting improvement in fiscal freedom as a result of recently implemented tax cuts. Australia is ranked 3rd out of 41 countries in the Asia–Pacific region, and its overall score is well above the regional average.

Australia rates high in virtually all of the 10 economic freedoms. Monetary stability and openness to global commerce buttress an internationally competitive financial and investment environment based on market principles. A strong rule of law protects property rights and tolerates virtually no corruption. Both foreign and domestically owned businesses enjoy considerable flexibility in their licensing, regulation, and employment practices.

Efforts to improve fiscal governance and maintain long-term fiscal sustainability are focused on achieving better efficiency and effectiveness, particularly in health care spending. The National Reform Agenda, adopted in 2006, should continue to promote needed competition in the energy and transport sectors.

Singapore's financial sector

Singapore's financial sector is modern and competitive. Bank consolidations have left the country with three dominant banking groups. One of these three groups is the government-controlled Development Bank of Singapore, which is the largest and is publicly listed. The other two banking groups also have significant government-held minority shares. There were 113 commercial banks in mid-2008, 107 of them foreign. Foreign banks now have greater freedom to open branches and offer services, but the government seeks to maintain the domestic bank share of deposits above 50 percent, and the majority of domestic bank board members must be Singapore citizens and residents. License quotas for full-service foreign banks were eliminated in July 2005, and the quota for U.S. wholesale banks was eliminated in January 2007. Foreign banks are allocated to three categories that specify the services they can provide: full service, wholesale, and offshore. Foreign firms compete aggressively in insurance, fund management, and venture capital. Capital markets are well developed, and the Singapore Exchange is increasing its ties with other Asian exchanges.

Singapore's weighted average tariff rate was 0 percent in 2006

Singapore's weighted average tariff rate was 0 percent in 2006. Tariffs are generally low, but import restrictions, services market barriers, import taxes, import licensing, non-transparent regulations, burdensome sanitary and phytosanitary rules, weak enforcement of intellectual property rights, and export incentive programs add to the cost of trade. Ten points were deducted from Singapore's trade freedom score to account for non-tariff barriers.