Vietnam advanced 14 places in the Enabling Trade Index of the World Economic Forum, now ranking 73rd out of 136 economies, according to the Global Enabling Trade Report released on November 30.
The advancement is largely driven by improvements in border administration, with improved customs efficiency (now at 66th) and reduced times for documentary and border compliance for both importing and exporting (a reduction of approximately 30 total hours for both cases), according to the Report.
These changes reflect recent efforts by the Government to streamline procedures at the border and reduce the burden of inspections by multiple agencies, but the country has a long way to go and rise to international standards.
|A corner of Ho Chi Minh City
Vietnam has also improved access to its domestic market (74th, up four), increasing the share of goods imported free of duty (71%, up from 55 two years ago), but also the average tariff applied to dutiable imports (7.9%, from 6.8).
The country’s possibility to penetrate foreign markets has also improved, thanks to a lower average faced tariff (3.3%, down from 3.8) and increased margin of preference vis-à-vis other countries.
Infrastructure performance has been uneven, with improvements in transport infrastructure (up 14, to 66th), including a significance advancement in maritime connectivity (19th, up eight), and a deterioration of services (down nine, to 60th).
Operating environment has also been enhanced, thanks in particular to stronger protection of property rights and increased efficiency of public institutions.
First introduced in 2008, the Enabling Trade Index has provided a bench-marking tool to monitor progress on trade-enabling reforms. This year Report evaluates 136 economies based on their capacity to facilitate the flow of goods over borders and to their destinations.
The index represents a necessary first step in the reform process and informs decision-making and help with prioritization. It also helps identify good practices and success stories across the development ladder that can be emulated or scaled up at the regional level.VGP