Sun | Aug 20, 2017

Jamaica dips in global trade rankings

Published:Friday | December 9, 2016 | 12:00 AM

Jamaica fell one spot to 89 among 136 nations in the latest global study.

The island contributes to 0.02 per cent of global trade and suffers from structural constraints, said the Global Enabling Trade Report 2016, published by the World Economic Forum (WEF).

Singapore led the world again, while Dominican Republic topped the Caribbean countries at 78, and Trinidad & Tobago ranked 106.

Jamaicans businesses disclosed that the most problematic factor for exporting involved finding new markets and meeting the quality and quantity requirements of buyers.

Meanwhile, importers into the island found the number of tariffs and procedures most burdensome, followed by corruption at Customs (the ports). These findings were based on a WEF Executive Opinion Survey included with the trade report.

The trade rankings rested on six pillars, with Jamaica landing at 108 for availability of transport services, at 103 for domestic market access and at 98 for transparency of border officials - its three worst subrankings.

Trinidad and Tobago, Brazil and Bolivia each slipped 13 spots in the overall rankings, the worst fall of all the economies surveyed.

Still, Latin America as a region, as well as Europe and North America, all performed "better than the global average in terms of both domestic and foreign market access," said the report, "but the capacity to tap into the opportunities offered by free trade is hindered by the inefficiency of border administration and the low quality of infrastructure and transport services three areas where the region lies far from world standards, with little or no sign of improvement in the former two and a deterioration in the latter."

WEF's trade survey is published biennially. The report in 2014 described Jamaica as one of the world's most improved. It followed a barrage of reforms linked to the economic reform programme with the International Monetary Fund. The 2014 report placed Jamaica at 80 in the rankings, but the 2016 report revised that rank to 88.

WEF's data partners include the Global Express Association, Inter-national Trade Centre, World Bank, World Trade Organization and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.

steven.jackson@gleanerjm.com