The Global Enabling Trade Report 2010, released by the World Economic Forum on May 19, 2010 ranks Singapore as #1 in its Global Enabling Trade Index, signifying Singapore's openness to trade.
Singapore retained its #1 position as the economy that is most open to trade in the world, followed by Hong Kong, Denmark, Sweden and Switzerland. The Global Enabling Trade Index covers 125 economies worldwide and measures their institutions, policies and services that 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.
Singapore aced the parameters on foreign market and domestic access; efficiency of import/export procedures; availability and quality of transport services; efficiency of customs administration; and regulatory environment.
As the world emerges from the economic crisis, the need to open up trade and break away trade barriers has gained importance in order to foster economic growth. Singapore is at the forefront of enabling cross border trade flows. By incorporating a trading company in Singapore, traders can leverage upon Singapore's strengths such as minimal import/export procedures, excellent infrastructure, tax incentives, an extensive free trade agreement network, and sophisticated logistics.
Each year the Singapore Customs processes trade flows worth close to a trillion dollars. With tremendous growth in trade volumes Singapore has upgraded its trading systems and processes to facilitate trade flows in and out of the country. For instance, traders need to apply for special import/export permits and authorizations only for certain controlled goods. Most permits can be applied for online using a single application via a a computerized permit processing system. Moreover, Singapore's Customs is known for its efficiency and non-corrupt practices unlike many other developing countries where traders have to pay what is known as "informal facilitation" to clear their consignments. Singapore has also introduced certain trade financing and insurance schemes to help traders cover their financial risks. Traders can also benefit from Singapore's 18 Free Trade Agreements with 24 trading partners. Certain global trading companies can avail of concessionary rates of tax under the Singapore's Global Trader Program.
According to Robert Lawrence, co-editor of the Global Enabling Trade Report,
"When individual countries enable trade, they provide benefits not only to themselves but also to other nations with which they trade. Improved market access, more efficient customs, and better infrastructure and business environments offer enhanced opportunities for both importers and exporters."