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World Economic Forum provides brighter trade picture

“The adoption of policies that enable trade will become increasingly important, not only for enhancing development in individual countries but also for generating prosperity in their trading partners.”
By Patrick Burnson, Executive Editor
January 23, 2013

East Asian economies have recorded marked improvements in their ability to enable trade, while traditional frontrunners Singapore and Hong Kong retain a clear lead at the top of the global rankings, according to the Global Enabling Trade Report 2012, released today by the World Economic Forum.

The report, which is published every two years, also confirms strong showings for Europe’s major economies, with Finland and the United Kingdom both advancing six places to 6th and 11th, respectively, and Germany and France remaining stable at 13th and 20. Other large economies fare less well: the US continues its decline to 23rd, as does China (56th) and India (100th). Among emerging economies, Turkey (62nd) and Mexico (65th) remain stable while Chile (14th), Saudi Arabia (27th) and South Africa (63rd) climb in the ranking. ASEAN members Thailand (57th), Indonesia (58th) and the Philippines (72nd) also improve.

In an interview with LM, Alexis Karklins-Marchay, co-leader of the Emerging Markets Center at Ernst & Young, noted that slower expansion in the rapid-growth markets is likely this year. However it will “only be a blip” before returning to significant growth towards the end of the year.

“Soaring domestic demand in economies starved, for some time, of investment and consumption will offer business exciting new markets for goods and services in the years ahead,” said Karklins-Marchay.
As well as ranking nations’ trade openness, the report finds that traditional notions of trade are increasingly outdated as global value chains require new measurements, policies and cooperation. The report also finds that security, quality and trade can be mutually reinforcing through supply chain integrity efforts, but a knowledge gap in identifying buyers remains an important barrier.

“The adoption of policies that enable trade will become increasingly important, not only for enhancing development in individual countries but also for generating prosperity in their trading partners,” said Robert Z. Lawrence, Albert L. Williams Professor of Trade and Investment at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. Lawrence is the academic adviser and a co-editor of the report.

About the Author

Patrick Burnson
Executive Editor

Patrick Burnson is executive editor for Logistics Management and Supply Chain Management Review magazines and web sites. Patrick is a widely-published writer and editor who has spent most of his career covering international trade, global logistics, and supply chain management. He lives and works in San Francisco, providing readers with a Pacific Rim perspective on industry trends and forecasts. You can reach him directly at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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