- Both GDP and GDP per capita are positively correlated to human development. There is a positive correlation between total GDP and the HDI scores, and between GDP per capita and the HDI scores. Not only are the growth rates of HDI and GDP positively correlated, there is a strong positive correlation between the individual components of the HDI and GDP.
- Countries that prioritise human development are more likely to transition to a virtuous cycle, where sustained growth and human development enhance one other, compared to countries that neglect human development.
- Countries with better HDI scores have higher employment rates.
- Improved human development results in higher wages, incomes and consumer expenditure.
- Countries with higher HDI scores tend to display higher levels of industrial competitiveness.
The Hinrich Foundation Sustainable Trade Index 2018
Yet the enthusiasm in Asia for trade does not appear to have waned. This broad societal consensus behind international trade has enabled Asian countries to continue broadening and deepening existing trading relationships, for example, by quickly hammering out a deal for the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) in early 2018 following the US’s withdrawal from its predecessor in 2017.
Asia, then, finds itself in the unique position of helping lead and sustain the global economy’s commitment to free and fair trade. It is in this context that the need for sustainability in trade is ever more crucial.
The Hinrich Foundation Sustainable Trade Index was created for the purpose of stimulating meaningful discussion of the full range of considerations that policymakers, business executives, and civil society leaders must take into account when managing and advancing international trade.
The index was commissioned by the Hinrich Foundation, a non-profit organisation focused on promoting sustainable trade. This, the second edition of the study, seeks to measure the capacity of 20 economies—19 in Asia along with the US—to participate in the international trading system in a manner that supports the long-term domestic and global goals of economic growth, environmental protection, and strengthened social capital. The index’s key findings include:Countries in Asia, especially the richer ones, have broadly regressed in terms of trade sustainability. Hong Kong is developed Asia’s bright spot, recording a slight increase in its score and topping the 2018 index. Several middle-income countries perform admirably, led by Sri Lanka. For the economic pillar, countries generally performed well in terms of growing their labour forces as well as their per-head GDPs. For the social pillar, sharp drops for some countries in certain social pillar indicators contribute to an overall decline. For the environmental pillar, with deteriorating environmental sustainability in many rich countries, China, Laos and Pakistan are the only countries to record increases in scores. Sustainability is an ever more important determinant of FDI and vendor selection in choosing supply-chain partners. Companies are improving the sustainability of their supply chains by restructuring and broadening relationships with competitors and vendors.
The Global Illicit Trade Environment Index 2018
To measure how nations are addressing the issue of illicit trade, the Transnational Alliance to Combat Illicit Trade (TRACIT) has commissioned The Economist Intelligence Unit to produce the Global Illicit Trade Environment Index, which evaluates 84 economies around the world on their structural capability to protect against illicit trade. The global index expands upon an Asia-specific version originally created by The Economist Intelligence Unit in 2016 to score 17 economies in Asia.View the Interactive Index >> Download workbook
Breaking Barriers: Agricultural trade between GCC and Latin America
The GCC-LAC agricultural trading relationship has thus far been dominated by the GCC’s reliance on food imports, specifically meat, sugar, and cereals. Over the past two years, however, there has been a notable decline in the share of sugar imported from LAC, and 2017 saw the biggest importers in the GCC—Saudi Arabia and the UAE—impose a ban on Brazilian meat.
Market players on both sides of the aisle are keen to grow the relationship further, but there are hurdles to overcome. In this report, we explore in greater depth the challenges that agricultural exporters and importers in LAC and the GCC face. We consider both tariff and non-tariff barriers and assess key facets of the trading relationship including transport links, customs and certification, market information, and trade finance.
Key findings of the report:
GCC will need to continue to build partnerships to ensure a secure supply of food. Concerns over food security have meant that the GCC countries are exploring ways to produce more food locally. However, given the region’s climate and geology, food imports will remain an important component of the food supply. Strengthening partnerships with key partners such as those in LAC, from which it sourced 9% of its total agricultural imports in 2016, will be vital to food security in the region.
There is a wider range of products that the LAC countries can offer the GCC beyond meat, sugar and cereals. Providing more direct air links and driving efficiencies in shipping can reduce the time and cost of transporting food products. This will, in turn, create opportunities for LAC exporters to supply agricultural goods with a shorter shelf life or those that are currently too expensive to transport. Exporters cite examples such as berries and avocados.
The GCC can engage small and medium-sized producers that dominate the LAC agricultural sector by offering better trade financing options and connectivity. More direct air and sea links can reduce the cost of transporting food products, making it viable for smaller players to participate in agricultural trade. The existing trade financing options make it prohibitive for small and medium-sized players too. Exporters in LAC suggest that local governments and private companies in the GCC can offer distribution services with immediate payments to smaller suppliers at a discount.
Blockchain technology is poised to address key challenges market players face in agricultural trade. Through a combination of smart contracts and data captured through devices, blockchain technology can help to reduce paperwork, processing times and human error in import and export processes. It can improve transparency, as stakeholders can receive information on the state of goods and status of shipments in real time. Finally, it can help with food safety and quality management—monitoring humidity and temperature, for instance, along the supply chain can help to pinpoint batches that may be contaminated, minimising the need for a blanket ban on a product.