Chile’s openness makes it the only Latin American nation in the global top 10 for enabling trade, according to the World Economic Forum’s Enabling Trade Report 2014. Chile boasts the lowest average import tariff in the world (3.5%) and provides the most open market. However, one challenge is transport infrastructure where the country ranks a lowly 64th of the nations surveyed.
Mexico scores reasonably well on market access and benefits from the fact that the vast majority of the country’s imports enter free of duty (ranking 16th on this measure). However, key infrastructure like railroads and postal services lack efficiency, as do public institutions (128th.) Meanwhile, poor physical security (130th) plagues Mexico’s operating environment.
Brazil’s market access is generally poor with high tariff rates (117th.) The availability and use of information technology is a competitive advantage, with mobile phone connectivity and Internet use by business and government notably good. However, corruption, bureaucracy, and low physical security (103rd) hold the nation back.
Argentinian importers benefit from simple, albeit relatively high, domestic tariffs. Other advantages include high levels of connectivity. Major challenges include border administration, insufficient protection of property rights, poor access to finance, and restrictive regulations governing foreign investors.
The World Economic Forum on Latin America 2015 takes place in Riviera Maya, Mexico, from 6-8 May.
Author: Mark Jones is Commissioning Editor for the World Economic Forum
Image: A Panamax container ship leaves the Panama Canal and heads into the Pacific Ocean, in Panama City, Panama. REUTERS/Alberto Lowe