PH jumps 8 notches in WEF global trade index

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PH jumps 8 notches in WEF global trade index
The index measures how well countries facilitate the flow of goods and services over borders to their jurisdictions

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines advanced 8 places in the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) annual survey measuring how open countries are to international trade.

The Philippines ranked 64th out of 138 economies in WEF’s 2014 Enabling Trade Index, up from 72nd in 2012. The country has risen 28 places since 2010, when it landed on 92nd spot.

In ASEAN, the Philippines was 5th, following Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia. Following the Philippines were Vietnam, Cambodia, Lao PDR and Myanmar.

The Enabling Trade index “assesses the extent to which economies have in place institutions, policies, infrastructures and services facilitating the free flow of goods over borders and to their destination.” These trade-enabling factors are classified under 4 categories: market access, border administration, infrastructure, and operating environment.

WEF said the Philippines did well on market access, but there was room for improvement with respect to the other categories. It said border administration was mired by corruption and red tape – two things that also weakened general operating environment in the country.

WEF added, “Like many countries in the region, the Philippines’ biggest weakness is the lack of adequate transport infrastructure.” It cited shortcomings in airport and port infrastructure, and insufficient associated logistics services.

Despite persistent challenges, the Philippines enjoyed competitive advantages in several areas, according to Peter Perfecto, executive director of the Makati Business Club, which has been a partner institute of WEF in the Philippines for its trade and competitiveness surveys.

These areas included “specific tariffs, tariffs faced, cost to export, cost to import, tariff dispersion, ease and affordability of shipment, available international airline seats in kilometers per week, customs services index, access to finance, share of duty-free imports, number of distinct tariffs, efficiency of clearance process, tariff rate, number of days to import, and ICT use for business-to-business transactions.”

When it comes to exporting in the Philippines, the top 5 problematic factors were “high cost or delays caused by domestic transportation, access to imported inputs at competitive prices, technical requirements and standards abroad, identifying potential markets and buyers, and difficulties in meeting quality/quantity requirements of buyers.”

When it comes to importing, the problematic factors were “burdensome import procedures, corruption at the border, tariffs, high cost or delays caused by domestic transportation, and high cost or delays caused by international transportation.” –

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