World Economic Forum (WEF) published last week its 2009 annual report on enabling trade around the world
The report estimated broader openness to trade after taking all indicators, regulatory and administrative factors into account. Notably, among these are the ease of market access, customs administration, difficulty of export and import procedures, quality of transport infrastructure, the availability of transport services and the use of ICT.
The report found a positive and moderate correlation between the GDP per capita and enabling trade index. Thus, it implies that countries with higher GDP per capita, on average, tend to be more trade-friendly.
Published for the second time and covering 121 economies worldwide, the report presents a resource for dialogue and provides a yardstick of the extent to which economies have in place the necessary attributes for enabling trade and where improvements are most needed.
The index has been revised since it was first published in 2008. The main changes concern the explicit inclusion of the export dimension in the index and the addition of an assessment of overall governance conditions to the business environment sub-index.
The Enabling Trade Index, featured in the report, measures institutions, policies and services facilitating the free flow of goods over borders and to destination. The index breaks the enablers into four issue areas: market access, border administration, transport and communications infrastructure, and the business environment.
The research by the WEF found that the customs regulations, quality of regulatory and business environment and the quality of transport infrastructure and services significantly explain country's openness to trade flows fairly well.
Countries with the highest Enabling Trade Index (ETI) are Singapore, Hong Kong, Switzerland, Denmark and Sweden, followed by Canada, Norway, Finland, Austria and the Netherlands.
The least trade-friendly countries, according to the report, are: Chad, Cote d'Ivoire, Venezuela, Zimbabwe and Nigeria. The US is at 16th place while the UK is ranked 20. Israel, ranked 29, features fairly well in the overall index which noted the following weaknesses: Physical security ( 83 place) transport infrastructure ( 54 place) and quality of transport services ( 43 place).
Mr. David Arzi - Chairman, Israel Export & International. Cooperation Institute noted that Israel ranked high in the market access pillar, border administration, business environment and efficiency of import and export procedures.