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Tue 7 Jul 2009 07:45 AM

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UAE tops MENA region for trade

The UAE has been ranked the best place for international trade and investment by the World Economic Forum.

The UAE is the top country for international trade and investment in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, according to the World Economic Forum (WEF).

The UAE was ranked 18th worldwide this year in the enabling trade index, compared to 23rd in 2008.

Singapore and Hong Kong were the top two countries in the ranking, followed by Switzerland, Denmark and Sweden, according to The Global Enabling Trade Report 2009, released on Monday.

Canada, Norway, Finland, Austria and the Netherlands were also in the top 10.

Hani Al Hamli, secretary-general of the Dubai Economic Council, told WAM news agency: "The high scores reflects the economic and administrative development in various related sectors.

"The most outstanding characteristics of local economic scene today are the continuity of mega projects based on the ambitious development plan the Government crafted," he said.

The UAE ranks higher than Italy (20th), Japan (23rd), Spain (27th), Italy (45th) and China (49th).

Breakdowns in the report, place the UAE 13th for its business environment, 20th for its border administration and 24th for its communication infrastructure.

The country also boasts one of the lowest costs to import goods and had one of the least burdensome customs procedures of all countries covered.

Further strengths included excellent transport infrastructure and a regulatory environment that is particularly conducive to trade, the report stated.

The Global Enabling Trade Report covers 121 economies worldwide and was published for the second time this year.