This is one of the findings of the Global Enabling Trade Report 2016, published by the World Economic Forum (WEF) and the Global Alliance for Trade Facilitation.
“Asean’s progress as an economic power comes at a time when the US and European Union are becoming less open,” the report said.
However, Asean’s progress in other areas, measured by the index, is less pronounced.
“As a result, the best economies for enabling trade tend to be in Northern and Western Europe, with the notable exception of Singapore and Hong Kong,” Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman of the WEF, said in a statement on Wednesday.
Singapore and Hong Kong were ranked first and third, respectively, at enabling trade across borders, while the Netherlands came in second, the UK, eight and Germany, ninth.
Other Asean member states mentioned in the report were Thailand (63rd, up nine places), Vietnam (73rd, up 14) and Laos (93rd, up seven).
Schwab said free trade remained the most powerful driver of global economic development and social progress.
The challenge for leaders is was to confront protectionism, but they also have a duty to make trade a source for more inclusive growth, he said.
The report features the Enabling Trade Index (ETI), which assesses the performance of 136 economies on domestic and foreign market access; border administration; transport and digital infrastructure; transport services; and operating environment.
Produced every two years, the report is a benchmark for leaders looking to boost growth and development through trade. - Bernama