PH climbs 10th spot in ‘Sustainable Trade Index’ global trade study

The Philippines’s ranking in the Hinrich Foundation’s Sustainable Trade Index this year climbed three notches, rising to the 10th spot from 13th place in the 2016 report.

The country also outperformed middle-income nations such as Malaysia and Thailand, placing 12th and 13th spots in this year’s index, respectively.

The Hinrich Foundation Sustainable Trade Index measures the preparedness of an economy to participate in global trade through three pillars of sustainability — economic, social, and environmental.

During the launching of the report here Tuesday, Hinrich Foundation Research Fellow Stephen Olson said the Philippines’ ranking in the latest trade index was supported by its improvement in the social pillar while maintaining its ranking in the environmental pillar.

Olson noted that while there is an overall stagnation across all economies in the social pillar, the Philippines was among the economies that increased its ranking in this pillar. Its ranking in the social pillar went up by eight spots from rank 19 in the 2016 report to rank 11 this year.

The Philippines was also recognized by the report as the most educated population among low-income economies on the index, which include Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Vietnam.

Among specific indicators, the index mentioned that the Philippines has the second lowest levels of air pollution among the 20 economies.

But in terms of economic pillar, the country’s ranking fell by six spots from rank 9 in the previous report to rank 15 this year.

Olson explained that the decline in the country’s ranking in the economic pillar was due to higher trade cost, export market concentration, lacking of technological innovation, and flat growth in labor force.

“While the Philippines demonstrates an openness to trade in some areas, the country is also home to some of the highest trade costs in the region,” the trade index noted.

Meanwhile, high-income economies led the rankings in the Sustainable Trade Index 2018 with Hong Kong at the top spot. This is followed by South Korea, Japan, Singapore, and United States.

Taiwan, Sri Lanka, China, and Vietnam outpaced the Philippines. These countries completed the top 10 of the index.

Those in the trade index’ bottom 10 include India, Malaysia, Thailand, Brunei, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Laos, Cambodia, and Myanmar. (Source: Kris Crismundo/PNA)