Australia’s standing as a global trade competitor has tumbled with exporters dogged by regulatory barriers, the Australian Industry Group says.
The World Economic Forum’s global “enabling trade” index released on Wednesday showed Australia dropping six places to 23rd in 2014 from 17th in 2012, and having been ranked 14th in 2009.
Singapore topped the table, while neighbouring New Zealand was fourth.
Ai Group chief executive Innes Willox said the survey results yet again highlight Australia’s poor performance in the global economy relative to its peers and competitors.
“Australian exporters continue to face many hurdles, including access to foreign markets, transport costs and regulatory barriers,” Mr Willox said in a statement.
“Some of these barriers are due to the old `tyranny of distance’, but others are due to our own regulatory and procedural arrangements for outbound and inbound trade.”
On market access that measures the extent and complexity of a country’s tariff regime, Australia now ranks 74th, having been 44th in 2008.
On the quality, transparency and efficiency of border administration Australia stands 22nd having been 11th six years earlier, while on infrastructure it is now 20th, down from a peak of 14th in 2009.
Similarly, on its operating environment it is 19th versus 14th in 2009.
“Australian trade policies, regulations and procedures require attention in a similar manner to the many other areas of regulatory burden that are currently under scrutiny,” Mr Willox said.
The results highlight the importance of free trade and multi-lateral agreements, including those with China and Japan, Australia’s two largest trading partners, as well as the Trans-Pacific Partnership
He said government is putting a welcome focus on expediting these agreements and strengthening Australia’s trade performance.
He said Australia hosting the G20 Leaders Meeting in November will provide another opportunity to address trade barriers and encourage expanded global trade.