2010 GDP: $387.8 billion
2010 FDI: -$1.4 billion
Out the world's 50 biggest economies, Venezuela ranks as the most difficult place to do business in.
The South American nation is among the very bottom when it comes to ease of paying taxes, getting credit, investor protection laws, and cross-border trading, to name a few. Firms spend 864 hours a year paying taxes in Venezuela, more than double the amount of time it takes in the rest of Latin America and the Caribbean. The gap is even wider when you compare with OECD countries, where it takes about a fourth of the time to file taxes.
Despite having some of the world's largest oil and natural gas reserves, most Venezuelans live in poverty. The country's socialist revolution led by President Hugo Chavez has brought about radical reforms, with the major one being the nationalization of much of the economy, especially the oil sector, and strict currency controls. All these pose difficulties for private businesses. For example, withdrawing money from your bank account requires not only signatures, but fingerprints and in some cases even a photograph. ATMs have strict daily limits.
Identification is even required for the smallest purchases, such as groceries. Inflation is also another major issue in Venezuela. Annual inflation for the 12-month period through September totaled 26.5 percent, showing the country's economy could be getting out of control.
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