Of the 20 nations in the G20, a group that has pledged to roll back protectionist trade measures, only Canada ranks among the top 20 trade markets in the world, according to the International Chamber of Commerce’s 2013 Open Markets Index
The biennial index, which was created to follow up on open-trade pledges by governments, ranks 75 countries according to openness to foreign investment, trade-enabling infrastructure, trade policy and overall trade openness. The countries are then given a grade between one and six.
The average result in this year’s survey was 3.6, with Hong Kong and Singapore finishing with scores above 5, a result that shows excellent trade promotion. Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Sudan and Uganda ranked the worst on the scale. Canada, a G20 country, ranked 19. Among the G8 and G20 nations, Germany and the United Kingdom ranked 22 and 29, respectively. France came in at 35, and the U.S. finished at 38.
“G20 leaders have consistently emphasized the importance of open markets, yet our research has found that they are in fact lagging behind the global average openness to trade,” Jean-Guy Carrier, ICC’s secretary general, said in a statement. “Overall, the slight improvement on the global average since 2011 is encouraging as it means the international community has resisted the temptation of protectionism. However, there is still much work to be done to improve the openness of many economies.” The global trade average in 2011 stood at 3.5.
To fix these results, ICC outlined a number of measures in its 2012 Business World Trade Agenda initiative, including trade-facilitation agreements and implementing duty-free exports from the least-developed countries. The agency would also like to see IT product trade expanded and greater e-commerce globally.
The United States is currently in negotiations regarding two trade agreements, the Asian Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, which would boost trade between the United States and Europe. - Jon Ross