World Bank says UAE has best trade plans in Mena


The World Bank’s 2007 report titled Economic Developments and Prospects for the Mena region reveals the UAE scores 75 points out of a possible 100 for the current status of its trade policies, reflecting its 2006 placement in a worldwide order based on a variety of indicators.

This places the UAE above the average for Europe and Central Asia (50) and six points clear of Kuwait (69) – the second highest ranked country in Mena.

The World Bank figures also place the UAE just one point behind the European and Central Asian average score for the current status of its business climate. The coun try scored 54, as compared to 55 in this category, with Oman leading the way in the Mena region with a score of 79.

The report says the Mena countries have moved their structural reform programmes forward over the “past six years”.

On the trade front, however, as regional and bilateral trade agreements proliferate, regional economies have significantly reduced tariffs and non-tariff barriers on imports.

Overall, the region ranks second among developing regions on tariff reforms carried out since 2000, trailing only Europe and Central Asia.

“Less progress has been made in improving the business climate, though Mena countries have undertaken various measures, including the liberalisation of key services in the economy, acrossthe-board business and regulatory policy reform, and targeted interventions to promote specific sectors,” highlights the report.

It further says the overall business climate remains “weak” in the region, with significant obstacles to conducting commerce in areas such as starting a new business, protecting investors and enforcing contracts.

The UAE scores 84 for its “reform progress” in the area of public sector accountability, putting it third in the region in this category.

“Parallel to their efforts towards more prudent man agement of their oil windfall and stronger economic ties to the world, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE have taken significant steps to greater inclusiveness and accountability,” it says.


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