International business opportunities and trends depend on several broad factors: the economic growth of these countries, the ease of doing business there and the friendliness of their trade policies.

Economic growth means more purchasing power from customers and businesses in that country who can potentially buy goods and services from one’s business. It also means more potential suppliers one can buy products from.

The friendliness of trade policies make it easier to sell to willing customers and buy from willing suppliers.

The ease of doing business makes it easier to set up shop and invest in these countries, which in some cases is necessary to conduct deeper levels of buying and selling in that country.

The following is the top 10 fastest growing economies in 2010, according to the World Bank:

                                                        

Macao Special Administrative Region, China

Paraguay

Singapore

Myanmar

China

Ethiopia

Maldives

Laos

Burkina Faso

Turkmenistan

The following is the top 10 ranked economies in the World Bank’s 2011 Ease of Doing Business Index:

Singapore

Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, China

New Zealand

United States

Denmark

Norway

United Kingdom

South Korea

Iceland

Ireland

The following is the top 10 ranked economies in the World Bank’s 2006-2009 Trade Tariff Restrictiveness Index:

Hong Kong

Singapore

Switzerland

Papua New Guinea

Turkey

Israel

Kazakhstan

Norway

United States

Iceland

The following is the top 10 economies that achieved the highest real growth in total trade from 2006-2009, according to the World Bank:

Yemen

Serbia

Malawi

Macao

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Burkina Faso

Montenegro

Bangladesh

Burundi

Discussion

So which economies made the top 50 for growth, ease of doing business and the Trade Tariff Restrictiveness Index? They are Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Kazakhstan.

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A view of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (Photo: Reuters)

One should not, of course, ignore the countries that do not appear high on every single ranking; China, for example, ranks rather poorly for ease of doing business, but that does not mean one should ignore this gigantic market.

The trade growth and economic growth rankings show that frontier economies emerging out of poverty or recovering from wars could experience astronomical rates of growth. Although these countries usually lack stability, they potentially offer daring individuals attractive international business opportunities.

The ease of doing business index counts Iceland and Ireland, two of the hardest hit countries during the global financial crisis, among its top 10.

This shows that economic freedom and liberalization, if not managed well, could fuel bubbles and create serious consequences later on. Investing in these countries for the long-term, therefore, could prove disastrous.