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10. Argentina

2010 GDP: $388 billion
2010 FDI: $6.3 billion

Argentina is one of three South American nations to make the list of the worst countries to do business in.

Out of 10 key indicators for doing business, Argentina has one of the lowest rankings when it comes to acquiring a construction permit. It takes about one year to get a construction permit, compared with an average of about seven months for Latin American countries and the Caribbean. Starting a business in Argentina takes 26 days, double the time it takes on average in Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) countries.

Argentina defaulted on its debt in 2002, which led to foreign investors fleeing South America’s second-biggest economy. Since then, the government has enforced a number of measures to stem money flowing out of the country, such as nationalizing its $24 billion pension fund industry and limiting the purchase of farmland by foreigners.

Last week, Cristina Kirchner’s government ordered oil and gas companies to repatriate all future export revenue, forcing miners to potentially increase costs stemming from foreign exchange and taxation. The move may make it harder for Argentina to attract foreign direct investment, which the UN estimates fell by 30 percent in the first half of this year.

Photo: Juan Mabromata | AFP |Getty Images