VILNIUS - A fresh World Bank report that ranks countries' business environment has put Lithuania at the top of the Baltic trio and 15th out of the 30 leading economies surveyed.
What's more, business conditions in Lithuania are the best among all European Union newcomers, the report, "Doing Business in 2006," found.
Estonia and Latvia came in at 16 and 26 in the ranking, while the top three economies with the easiest environment for doing business were New Zealand, Singapore and the United States.
Last year, Lithuania ranked 17th in the respective list drawn by World Bank and IFC.
But in some areas, Lithuania lags behind its Baltic neighbors. One of the main criteria used in the report is the ease with which one can open a business. In the average OECD state, it would take 19 days and six procedures. Chartering costs would average at 6.5 percent of income per capita, the report found.
By contrast in Lithuania, opening a new business would require 26 days and eight procedures, which put the country in 37th place in the latest rating. Latvia ranked 26th, with chartering a new company taking an average 18 days, while Estonia was 43rd with an average 35 days.
However, Lithuania ranked second in terms of requirements for registering property, which requires three days and three procedures on average. Average registration costs were 0.8 percent of the property value being registered.
Finally, Lithuania ranked seventh in terms of options for enforcing contracts, 16th in terms of requirements for dealing with licenses, 31st in terms of paying taxes and trading across borders, and 36th in terms of ease of getting a loan.