Navigating the Bureaucracy

Published: September 09, 2005

Buenos Aires, Sep. 9 - It was recently reported by the Opacity Board that Argentina's level of governmental inefficiency and corruption acts as a hidden 25% tax on business and investment. The Opacity Board is an organization that studies government transparency, corruption, and inefficency and its effects on business investment. The Opacity Board includes former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, Frene Noshir Ginwala, Speaker of the South African Parliament and Peter Egen, Chairman of Transparency International, a global anti-corruption organization.

The Opacity Board publishes the "O Factor", a numerical rating assigned to each country, which measures five factors: (1) level of corruption, (2) nature and effectiveness of legal systems, (4) economic policy, (4) whether accounting practices are firmly established, and (5) regulatory systems. The most transparent country is Singapore, with an O Factor of 29. The U.S. ranks higher at 36. Chile, the most transparent country in Latin America, also ranks at 36.

Argentina's O Factor is 61, a hidden-tax equivalent of 25%. If Argentina were able to reduce its O Factor to the level of Singapore, it would be the equivalent of cutting corporate taxes by 25%. Argentina's government is inefficient and evidence of bureaucratic red tape is everywhere. When doing business in countries with high O Factors, it is important for firms and business people to find local expertise to help them navigate the bureaucracy and insulate their enterprise as much as possible from these hidden costs.

Before selecting ARCA to process their visas, many clients experienced delays -- some longer than one year -- just to obtain a residency permit from Migrations. With each Argentina Consulate using different procedures, different forms, and having different requirements, foreigners can find it difficult, if not impossible, to get their visas processed when working with consulates abraod.

With more than 20 years in the field of immigration, numerous contacts and personal relationships at the Department of Migrations, one of ARCA's primary assets is the ability to rapidly obtain permits for clients. With a normal turnaround of less than 20 working days, ARCA can ease a client's transition into the country and allow him or her to focus on meeting objectives rather than fighting against the bureaucracy.

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