The report ranks economies based on seven criteria: domestic market access, foreign market access, efficiency and transparency of border administration, availability and quality of transport infrastructure, availability and quality of transport services, availability and use of information and communication technologies (ICTs), and operating environment.
The Philippines’ strengths are in domestic market access, where it ranked 19th overall, and foreign market access (26th).
The country, however, was pulled down by transport infrastructure, where it ranked 96th, ICTs (85th), transport services (84th), operating environment (82nd) and border administration (71st).
In its Enabling Trade Index 2014, the Philippines ranked 64th out of 138 countries, up from the previous year’s 72nd place out of 138 economies.
The index ranks a country on a scale of 1 to 7, with 1 being the lowest and 7 the highest. The Philippines improved its score from 3.96 last year to 4.1.
On the market access sub-index, the Philippines scored 4.6 to rise to the 11th spot from 14th last year. Under border administration, it scored 4.3 and edged up to 71st from 72th in 2013. For operating environment, the Philippines scored 4 and landed at the 82nd spot, jumping 25 places. For infrastructure the country scored 3.4 and ranked 89th, up from last the previous year’s 91st.
Singapore ranked 1st in the world and in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Among ASEAN members, the Philippines was behind Malaysia (25th), Thailand (57th) and Indonesia (58th), and ahead of Vietnam (72nd), Cambodia (93rd), Laos (98th) and Myanmar (121st).
Hong Kong also kept its No.2 ranking, while the Netherlands climbed four places to take No.3, dislodging Sweden, which fell to No.9. It was overtaken by Chile, which climbed six notches to No.9. The United Kingdom rose five ranks to No. 6 while Germany fell to No. 10 and Canada dropped out of the top 10 to No. 14.
New Zealand and Finland move up a rung each to No.4 and No.5.
The bottom dwellers this year are Zimbabwe, Guinea, Angola, Venezuela and Chad.
Most problematic trade issues
The WEF report said the most problematic factors for trade in the Philippines included high cost or delays due to domestic transportation, access to imported inputs at competitive prices, and technical requirements and standards abroad.
Identifying potential markets and buyers, difficulties in meeting quality and quantity requirements of buyers, high cost or delays caused by international transportation, inappropriate production technology and skills, tariff barriers abroad, burdensome procedures at foreign borders, access to trade finance, rules of origin requirements abroad and corruption at foreign borders were also among the negative factors.
The most problematic factors for importing included burdensome import procedures, corruption at the border, tariff, high cost or delays caused by domestic transportation, high cost or delays caused by international transportation, domestic technical requirements and standards, crime and theft, and inappropriate telecommunications infrastructure.
Among the BRICs league of developing countries, China, the world’s largest exporter, ranks 54th out of 138 economies, a few notches ahead of South Africa (59th).
Makati Business Club (MBC) executive director Peter Perfecto identified 15 areas where the Philippines has shown improvement: 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.
MBC, a partner of WEF’s since 1994, conducts the global organization’s surveys in the Philippines.
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