Hong Kong, Singapore most global trade friendly

Hong Kong and Singapore are the two economies most conducive to global trade, according to a ranking by the World Economic Forum released on Wednesday.

The World Economic Forum’s new Global Enabling Trade Index survey of 118 economies looked at ten factors impacting trade, such as tariffs, customs administration efficiency and availability of transport and communications infrastructure.

Tourists in transit return to Boat Quay in Singapore.

The forum ranked Hong Kong number one thanks to its “very open market” as well as a “secure and open business environment.”

Singapore’s open business environment was also complemented by a “highly efficient and transparent border administration” and a well-developed transport and communications infrastructure.

Third and fourth places were taken by Sweden and Norway respectively, while Canada was ranked fifth.

The world’s largest economy United States, however, did not figure in the top ten, coming in at number 14, dragged down by its border administration, judged to be “lacking some efficiency.”

“Customs procedures (in the United States) are seen as comparatively burdensome (ranked 42nd) and there is a relatively high cost to import (ranked 65th),” said the WEF.

Export giant China fared even worse, ranked just 48th, reflecting “underlying weaknesses in its economy and its trading regime.”

“Above all, China is a fairly closed country. Although its economic success relies heavily on exports, imports are still severely inhibited by tariff and non-tariff barriers, despite the country’s accession to the WTO,” it said.

Fellow Asian giant India ranked even further down the list, at 71st place, due to its market access, which is rated as “severely restricted.”

Brazil was not far behind India, at 80th place, as its markets remain “fairly closed, with tariffs… inhibiting goods imports.” – AFP/de

Source : Channel NewsAsia – 18 Jun 2008

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