Pakistan is now ranked at 112th position among 125 countries in the Global Trade Index, moving down from 100th position that it held last year. This is the second consecutive year that Pakistan’s position has been lowered, according to The Global Enabling Trade Report 2010, released by the World Economic Forum on Saturday.
Pakistan, from a relatively secure position of 88 in 2008, has been losing its global trade competitiveness for two years. This should be a cause of great alarm with regards to the planning and strategy formulation procedures of the Ministry of Commerce. Furthermore, terms of customs, border assistance, infrastructure and vision at the Ministry of Communications and the National Highways and Motorways also need to be reviewed. All these factors are critical for encouraging trade in the country.
The most problematic areas for enabling trade in Pakistan are: the reliability of police service (107th position), business cost of crime (112th position), and business cost of terrorism (123rd position).
The indicators on the Global Enabling Trade Index also show Pakistan’s weaknesses on the tariff rate percentage (123rd) and the percentage share of duty free imports (108th). In addition to these, Pakistan shows poor strategy from the TDAP, with inadequate margin of preferences in destination markets (116th) and poor efficiency of clearance procedures (115th).
Pakistan also has regretful results on the Corruption Perception Index, where it stands at 107th position. The poor quality of airport facilities, government’s inability to improve logistic competence and the ICT communications coupled with poor penetration of broadband Internet subscription and fixed telephone lines cost Pakistan some valuable points.
The World Economic Forum (WEF) had launched the Forum of Young Global Leaders in 2004. Pakistan is one of the countries which has not established and benefited from the Pakistan’s Forum on Young Global Leaders selected each year by the WEF to assist and guide both public as well as private sector in improving Pakistan’s ranking on the global Enabling Trade Index and its competitiveness.
The results also illustrate the resilience of the world economy against the threat of protectionism during the economic crisis. International agreements such the WTO framework and pledges by the G20 have contributed to limiting the effect of protectionist pressures on trade. Despite fears of rising protectionism, the report confirmed that a large majority of countries did not raise trade barriers.
Vietnam realized one of the biggest improvements in the rankings this year, climbing by 18 places to the 71st position. The country’s accession to the WTO in 2007 supported this move, as tariffs were lowered and the country’s exporters gained better access to markets of other members. By ranking countries according to barriers to trade countries have in place, as well as factors that enable it, the report provides information on a set of measures that countries can initiate to facilitate recovery.
The Index uses a combination of publicly available data 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. Competitiveness Support Fund in the Pakistan was also 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.
Being published for the third year in a row and covering 125 economies worldwide, the report presents a resource for dialogue and provides a yardstick of the extent to which economies have the necessary attributes for enabling trade in place and where improvements are needed the most.
The Enabling Trade Index measures institutions, policies and services, which facilitate the free flow of goods over borders. It breaks the enablers into four issue areas: market access, border administration, transport and communications infrastructure, and business environment.
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