LONDON: India has improved its ranking by four places to 102nd position among 136 economies in terms of enabling cross border trade, with Singapore leading the list, the World Economic Forum (WEF) said today.

Among the BRICS nations, India, China and South Africa have improved their ranking from the previous edition.

While India’s position has jumped four slots to 102, that of South Africa has improved three places to 55 while that of China stood at 61 compared with the previous ranking of 63.

Brazil’s ranking has slipped to 110 from the earlier 97 while that of Russia dropped to 111 from the 105th position.

The ‘Global Enabling Trade Report 2016’ — published by WEF and the Global Alliance for Trade Facilitation — assesses the performance of 136 economies by way of Enabling Trade Index (ETI).

The index assesses the extent to which economies have in place the factors facilitating the free flow of goods over borders and to their destinations. It takes into consideration various factors, including domestic and foreign market access, border administration, transport and digital infrastructure and operating environment.

Singapore is leading the top ten economies that are enabling trade across borders followed by the Netherlands and Hong Kong SAR at second and third places, respectively. Others are Luxembourg (4), Sweden (5), Finland (6), Austria (7), the United Kingdom (8), Germany (9) and Belgium (10).

The US is placed at the 22nd position.

With regard to India, the report said most problematic factors for import include high cost or delays caused by domestic transportation, crime and theft, corruption on the border and burdensome import procedures.

Despite popular perceptions, the report said large swathes of the global population are still unable to participate in international trade or global value chains.

“Larger emerging markets in particular fare poorly in the ETI, with China representing the only top-10 most-populous nation in the top half of the index.

“Six others, home to 2.4 billion people, rank beyond the 100th mark – India (102nd), Brazil (110th), Russia (111th), Pakistan (122nd), Bangladesh (123rd), and Nigeria (127th),” it noted.

Global Alliance for Trade Facilitation’s Director Philippe Isler said businesses and entrepreneurs in many developing and emerging economies are being constrained from the global marketplace due to costly as well as inefficient border processes.

Published every two years, the report said increased integration into the global economy has made the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) region a more accessible market for trading goods than either the European Union or the US.

“Free trade remains the most powerful driver of global economic development and social progress. The challenge for leaders today is to confront protectionism, but they also have a duty to make trade a source for more inclusive growth,” WEF Founder and Executive Chairman Klaus Schwab said.