Roundtable Discussions

The World Bank’s World Trade Indicators 2008

Date : 6/29/2008

Speakers : Gianni Zanini, Lead Economist and Trade Program Team Leader, World Bank Institute

Trade integration plays an important role in national development and poverty reduction. This compact and easily accessible interactive database contains 126 indicators measuring at-the-border and behind-the-border trade policy performance and outcome for 210 countries and customs territories. Drawing on internationally comparable databases and including some new measures of trade policy, the database groups country performance around five main pillars: border protection, such as tariffs and non-tariff barriers on goods and services; constraints to market access in the rest of the world; the overall business and institutional environment; trade facilitation; and trade outcomes, such as trade growth, and diversification. For Egypt, the report indicated it had witnessed a large decline in import restrictions since the beginning of this decade, reducing its average MFN tariff from 47 to 17 percent. However, the Middle East and North Africa, South Asia, and Sub-Saharan Africa remain the developing regions with the highest average tariffs. The report also indicated that despite global reductions in tariffs and preferential trading arrangements, low income country exporters as a group still face the least favorable market access for their products, as they face average tariffs (3.7 percent) on their exports that are 32 percent higher than that faced by high income country exporters (2.8 percent).