By Andy Sambidge
Global Enabling Trade Report 2014 ranks the UAE 16th out of 138 economies rated worldwide
The UAE has been named the top Middle East country for enabling trade but barriers to trade are still holding back the global economic recovery, the World Economic Forum has said.
The UAE was ranked 16th globally out of 138 economies rated by the Global Enabling Trade Report 2014 but the report added that many governments are still failing to enact sometimes straightforward reforms that could have a far-reaching effect on growth and social progress.
Qatar was ranked second in the Middle East, at 19th, while Kuwait was rated the least effective in the Gulf for enabling trade, ranked a lowly 74th.
The report, which also ranked Oman (31st), Bahrain (33rd), and Saudi Arabia (48th), was topped by Singapore, followed by Hong Kong and The Netherlands.
The report’s Enabling Trade Index indicated that the world’s large emerging economies face enormous challenges as they seek to enable trade and progress to the next stage of their development.
China, the world’s largest exporter, ranked 54th, a few notches ahead of South Africa (59th).
Brazil (86th), India (96th) and the Russian Federation (105th) appear in the bottom half of the ranking.
The report said common barriers to trade in the developing and emerging world include red tape at borders, corruption, inadequate infrastructure, and low levels of security.
Among advanced economies, most apply low import tariffs, but some, such as Switzerland, Norway and EU members, have complex tariff regimes that are hard to navigate and act as barriers to trade, too. the report added.
The report assessed the performance of economies in four areas - market access; border administration; infrastructure; and the operating environment.
“After several difficult years trying to advance the Doha Round, the Bali package, with the Trade Facilitation Agreement at its centre, provides a much-needed window to focus on eliminating the practical obstacles to trade. In this light, we believe the report’s unique measurements will help leaders to identify successful policies and areas for improvement,” said Espen Barth Eide, managing director, World Economic Forum.
Last month, HSBC said the UAE was leading the world in a global index measuring trade prospects following its successful bid to host the World Expo in 2020.
The bank's Trade Confidence Index (TCI) ranked the UAE ahead of all other countries covered with a score of 141, where 100 denotes a neutral reading.
The score was nine points higher than six months ago and the UAE's highest mark since the TCI was established in 2009.