Qatar has ranked 41st overall out of 118 countries in ‘The Enabling Trade Index 2008' (ETI) released by the World Economic Forum (WEF) yesterday.
Published for the first time, the report presents a cross-country analysis of measures related to trade. The factors involved are market access, border administration, transport and communications infrastructure and business environment, which have further been broken down into sub-categories.
Along with the WTO, involved in developing the report were the Global Express Association, International Air Transport Association, UNCTAD, the World Bank, the International Trade Centre and the World Trade Organisation. Industry partners included Deutsche Post, Federal Express, TNT, DP World and the Kuwait-headquartered Agility.
Hong Kong ranked first overall followed by Singapore, while Chad brought up the rear. For the GCC, Qatar was third behind the UAE (23) and Bahrain (37). To give a comparison, Qatar scored 4.48 to Hong Kong's 6.04 and Chad's 2.60.
In market access, Qatar ranked 54th, scoring 4.39, in border administration, it ranked 53 (4.11), in transport and communications infrastructure, Qatar ranked 33 (4.22) and came in an impressive 18th in business environment scoring 5.22.
The strong showing in the business environment category is a reflection of the new openness in the economy and loosening of government controls. The Qatar Financial Centre (QFC) for example has been attracting big-name foreign entities in the banking and insurance sectors as the country works toward becoming a major financial hub.
Qatar is hoping to put Dubai and Bahrain in the shade with initiatives like the setting up of a single financial regulatory authority. There are also no restrictions on global companies doing business here and vice versa for Qatari firms.
Qatar came in at 25 with a score of 5.35 in relation to tariff and non-tariff barriers and a poor 88th (3.42) in the ‘proclivity to trade’ category. The country ranked 51 in efficiency of the Customs administration scoring four, 102nd in efficiency of import and export procedures with 3.16 points and 27th in transparency of border administration (5.17).
Availability of transport infrastructure saw the country ranked at 31 (4.59), 40th in availability and quality of transport services (4.07) and ranked 34 with 3.99 in availability of information and communications technologies.
For business regulatory environment, Qatar came in at 48 (4.57) and 12th in physical security (5.86)
By the time the next ETI comes out, Qatar's showing in selected categories is bound to improve as the country ploughs a tremendous amount of funds into infrastructure and assorted other services.
Several other studies recently have shown the country is a favoured destination for categories like banking while Qatar is looking to foreign investment to shore up areas like Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).
In addition, the country is building up its healthcare and educational systems, which has helped attract big names in the two fields along with for research.
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