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Singapore and hong kong lead the global enabling trade report 2009

(PresseBox) (Geneva/Switzerland, ) .
- Singapore and Hong Kong SAR are the most open to international trade and investment
- United States comes in 16th, People's Republic of China 49th
- Put your questions to the co-editor of the report on 7 July at 18.00 CEST at http://livestream.com/WorldEconomicForum
- Report highlights, summary, country profiles, quotes and more at http://www.weforum.org/getr

East Asian economies - Singapore and Hong Kong SAR - occupy the top two positions in the Enabling Trade Index ranking, followed by Switzerland, Denmark and Sweden, according to The Global Enabling Trade Report 2009, released today by the World Economic Forum. Canada, Norway, Finland, Austria and the Netherlands complete the top-10 list.

The results mirror the openness of Singapore and Hong Kong SAR to international trade and investment as part of their successful economic development strategy. Both economies have put into place highly efficient border administrations and supportive business environments. They are endowed with well-developed transport and telecommunications infrastructures ensuring rapid transit to final destination. These attributes are further supported by business environments that are conducive to trade.

The United States benefits from a conducive business environment, as well as excellent infrastructure. The US position is weakened by restricted access to markets and concerns about costs to business resulting from crime, violence and terrorism. China performs well with respect to transport services and has swift import-export procedures, but trade development is held back by highly restricted access to its markets.

The Global Enabling Trade Report 2009 is launched at a crucial time for global trade, as overall economic activity declines, trade volumes drop and public authorities adopt counter-cyclical stimulus policies and institutional reforms. The report serves as a timely reminder of the risks of protectionism and of the widespread prosperity and poverty reduction associated with the expansion of international trade in the years leading up to 2008.

Published for the second time and covering 121 economies worldwide, the report presents a resource for dialogue and provides a yardstick of the extent to which economies have in place the necessary attributes for enabling trade and where improvements are most needed. The index has been revised since it was first published in 2008. The main changes concern the explicit inclusion of the export dimension in the index and the addition of an assessment of overall governance conditions to the business environment subindex.

The Enabling Trade Index uses a combination of data from publicly available sources, as well as the results of the Executive Opinion Survey, a comprehensive annual survey conducted by the World Economic Forum with its network of Partner Institutes (leading research institutes and business organizations) in the countries included in the report. The survey provides unique data on many qualitative institutional and business environment issues, as well as some indicators related to international trade.

The Enabling Trade Index, featured in the report, measures institutions, policies and services facilitating the free flow of goods over borders and to destination. The index breaks the enablers into four issue areas: market access, border administration, transport and communications infrastructure, and the business environment.

"The current challenge is to ensure not only that countries not pull each other down further by restraining trade, but that they help recovery by trading with each other. Further enabling trade across borders can mitigate the effect of the global crisis, as measures facilitating trade will reduce the transaction cost of trade and therefore partially offset the effects of the demand slump. The Enabling Trade Index provides guidance on measures that need to be taken." said Robert Z. Lawrence, Albert L. Williams Professor of Trade and Investment at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, USA. Professor Lawrence is also academic adviser and co-editor of the report.

"Over the past two years, the World Economic Forum has engaged key industry leaders, academics and international organizations active in the area of trade to identify the main obstacles to trading across borders and to develop the Enabling Trade Index. The goal is to construct a platform for multistakeholder dialogue and to create broad-based support to counter protectionist sentiment from building in the present crisis," said Professor Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum. (Click on the picture to watch a 3-minute interview with Margareta Drzeniek Hanouz, co-editor of the report.)

The Enabling Trade Index was developed within the context of the Forum's Industry Partnership Programme for the Logistics and Transport sector in close collaboration with the project's data partners: Global Express Association (GEA), International Air Transport Association (IATA), International Trade Centre (ITC), World Customs Organization (WCO), United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), The World Bank and World Trade Organization (WTO). The Forum also received important input from its Industry Partners: Agility, Deutsche Post DHL, DP World, FedEx Corporation, GeoPost Intercontinental, Stena, TNT, Transnet and UPS.

The report also features a number of contributions from trade experts and industry practitioners exploring different aspects of trade enablement. A particular focus has been placed this year on customs, one of the key areas of the Doha negotiations on trade facilitation. Also included are detailed profiles for each of the economies covered by the study.

Download The Global Enabling Trade Report 2009 rankings and read the highlights on our website: http://www.weforum.org/getr

Margareta Drzeniek Hanouz, co-editor of the report, will be available for questions in real time on Tuesday 7 July 2009 at 18.00 CEST at http://livestream.com/WorldEconomicForum.

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