What Are the Top Countries for International Business?

Jeanne Grunert
Denmark tops the list of the best business countries.

Many people may wonder, "What are the top international business countries?" Depending on which magazine or group prepares the ranking, the list my vary.

What Makes a Country Tops on the List

Everyone thinks his country should be tops on the list, but in truth, not every country even makes the list of the top international business countries. Depending on the reviewer, certain features of the country's political, social, economic and business climate are considered. These include:

  • Political stability or instability: If the government is in flux, or in danger of collapse, the business situation is precarious. Having a stable government with reliable leadership provides a solid base for businesses to grow and prosper.
  • Human rights: Those who evaluate socioeconomic elements to determine what are the top international business countries examine the condition of human rights and freedoms with the country, paying particular attention to the right to free expression. Shareholders and investors need to feel confident that they can speak out, and companies must also feel they can communicate information freely should the need arise.
  • Corruption: Obviously, a nation relatively free from corruption fosters a business climate of trust rather than deception.
  • Low inflation
  • Strong technology infrastructure
  • Encouragement and resources for entrepreneurs
  • Well educated workforce

What Are The Top International Business Countries

Forbes magazine lists the top five international business countries as follows:

  1. Denmark
  2. Ireland
  3. Finland
  4. The United States of America
  5. United Kingdom

Other countries making the top ten include Sweden, Canada, Singapore, Hong Kong (although technically no longer a country), Estonia and Switzerland.

Denmark: Strong Economy

Denmark ranks high on the list for its enormous growth, strong economy, and few foreseeable limits to growth in the future. The country's booming high-tech agricultural expansion, strong support for small businesses and entrepreneurs, and stable currency make it an excellent place for business. The only hurdle Denmark appears to face is the upcoming retirement of a good portion of its workforce, with fewer workers among the younger ranks ready to take their place. This very modern, very stable Scandinavian country is extremely attractive for business growth and development.

Ireland: A Nation On the Rise

Coming in at number two on the list of top international business countries is Ireland. If you thought Ireland was all green grass and tourism, think again. Industry and service businesses, such as outsourced call centers and communications, now rank higher than agriculture in the country's goods and services. With new programs set in place by the Irish government to bolster the trade infrastructure and curb inflation, many European-based businesses are eyeing Ireland as a place for expansion.

Finland: Telecommunications Giant

It's no surprise that a second Scandinavian country, home to Nokia telecommunications and other large businesses, appears in the top five. Finland's manufacturing sector remains strong, although some pushback from the Russians on paper exports threatens the lumber sector. Finland excels in engineer, telecommunications and electronics. Because of this, a large number of their workforce is trained or experienced in these industries, making it attractive for companies coming into or expanding within Finland. Unemployment is the persistent worry for the Finnish economy, but the country remains a strong and attractive choice for businesses.

The United States: At the Vanguard of Technology

The United States remains among the top five business countries. It continues to be at the vanguard of all major advances in technology, medicine, and computers. Rising oil prices tarnished its shiny reputation, as well as new market entry barriers in some fields. The country has now entered a recession. It remains to be seen how long or deep the recession will be, and this may hurt its position in future rankings.

The United Kingdom: Western European Powerhouse

Rounding out the top five international business countries is the United Kingdom. Agriculture remains one of the nation's top industries, along with natural resources such as coal and mining. Service industries also account for a good deal of the country's production. The United Kingdom has been enjoying a long, stable period of growth and prosperity. As one of the three largest Western European economies, the U.K. provides an attractive alternative to other countries, especially if the business needs raw materials such as those mined in the U.K.

In Conclusion

There's no one hard and fast ranking of top business countries; each rank, published by various magazines or groups, uses different criteria. If you're thinking of starting or expanding a business into a new country, you'll need to do extensive research on your own to ensure it's the best fit for your business goals.

What Are the Top Countries for International Business?