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The Netherlands Ranks Among World’s Top 3 in Global Trade

The World Economic Forum (WEF) has published the Global Enabling Trade Report 2014. At the top end of the rankings, the Index shows Singapore, Hong Kong SAR, and the Netherlands as the most successful countries in terms of enabling trade.

The report focuses on the facilities that individual economies have created, such as policies, institutions and services, to enable a free flow of goods across borders and to their intended destinations. The determined openness of economies for international trade translates into a ranking on the main focus of the report: the Enabling Trade Index (ETI). The Netherlands has climbed from the seventh to the third place on this index.

On behalf of WEF, research institute INSCOPE – Research for Innovation at Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) carried out the Executive Opinion Survey among Dutch companies. In total, 138 economies were researched. RSM’s Professor Henk Volberda, Professor of Strategic Management & Business Policy and also Scientific Director at INSCOPE – Research for Innovation, led the Executive Opinion Survey among Dutch companies.

Although Singapore and Hong Kong – as in previous years – are leading the Enabling Trade Index, the Netherlands has climbed from 10th place (in 2010) to 7th place (2012) and now 3rd place (2014). The report praises the Netherlands for, among other strong points, its port and ICT infrastructure, as well as the quality, transparency and efficiency of its customs agency and related services.

The Netherlands stands out thanks to its physical and digital infrastructure
The Netherlands is part of the world leaders in physical and digital infrastructure. When it comes to infrastructure, the Netherlands occupies third place. And with respect to port infrastructure, it ranks first worldwide. Professor Volberda describes a good physical and digital infrastructure as “the lubricant that keeps trade going,” adding that these two factors “offer mutually reinforcing effects that further strengthen the Netherlands’ competitiveness in a recovering world economy.”

Complex Dutch tax system impedes free trade
Even though Dutch import duties are among the lowest in the world (No. 5), the Dutch tax system surrounding importation is seen as “complex” (No. 110), and companies face many different import duties (No. 109). In the opinion of Prof Volberda, the complexity and many types of import duties result in a considerable loss of time and money in importing their products into the Netherlands, which partly negates the advantage offered by low import duties.

Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) is ranked among Europe’s top 10 business schools for education and among the top three for research. RSM provides ground-breaking research and education furthering excellence in all aspects of management and is based in the international port city of Rotterdam – a vital nexus of business, logistics and trade. RSM’s primary focus is on developing business leaders with international careers who carry their innovative mindset into a sustainable future thanks to a first-class range of bachelor, master, MBA, PhD and executive programmes. RSM also has offices in the Amsterdam Zuidas business district and in Taipei, Taiwan.