Bangladesh slipped three steps back to stand 123rd in this year's Enabling Trade Index (ETI) of the World Economic Forum (WEF) mainly for underperformance on three counts, including border administration.
According to the WEF report, the country couldn't perform up to the mark in quality transport infrastructure, and efficiency and transparency in border administration.
In the previous ETI, the country stood in 120th position among the 136 countries measured on account creating conditions that support better trade operations.
The index is carried in the Global Enabling Trade Report 2016, released by the WEF and the Global Alliance for Trade Facilitation Wednesday across the globe.
The 2016 edition of the ETI covers 136 economies, which together account for 98 per cent of world GDP and 98.3 per cent of world merchandise trade.
According to the ETI, Bhutan was the most improved country in the South Asia region, climbing 12 positions and becoming the regional leader at 92nd, followed by India (up four to 102nd) and Nepal (up four to 108th).
Besides, Sri Lanka secured 103rd, and Pakistan 122nd positions--all slipping down the rankings in spite of improved scores.
The enabling trade report says governments are making slow progress in improving the efficiency of customs and border procedures - with many small businesses and entrepreneurs cutting off from the global trading system as a result.
The ETI 2016 index has been compiled surveying on 136 economies across the globe based on seven different pillars: Domestic market access, foreign market access, efficiency and transparency of border administration, availability and quality of transport infrastructure, availability and quality of transport services, availability and use of ICTs, and operating environment.
According to the ETI 2016 report, Bangladesh secured 3.48 points on the 1-7 scale in the ETI 2016. In the ETI 2014, it scored 3.39.
Although Bangladesh secured more points in the 2016 version of the ETI than in the 2014, its overall rank has dropped three positions to 123rd as other economies in the world have done better.
Among the seven pillars in the ETI 2016, Bangladesh is placed 127th in respect of domestic market access, 12th in foreign market access, 130th in the efficiency of border administration, 109th availability and quality of transport infrastructure, 100th availability and quality of transport services, 112th in the availability in use of ICTs, and 128th in the operating environment.
The WEF's ETI 2016 placed Singapore as the top country in enabling trade while Venezuela at the bottom.
The Global Trade Enabling Report says at a time of growing scepticism towards many bilateral and regional trade agreements focused on cutting tariffs and harmonising product regulations, the report shows that improving the efficiency of border administration is a "largely untapped tool that governments can use to boost economic growth".
"The biggest beneficiaries of customs reforms are small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) which typically lack the resources to comply with complex, expensive or time-consuming measures," it said.
Produced every two years, the report is a benchmark for governments looking to boost growth and development through trade.
The report shows that no convergence between countries on border administration has been achieved in the last two years -- and, in fact, the performance gap between high and low-income economies has even widened slightly during this period, by 0.1 points on a 1-7 scale.
Among the report's seven pillars, border administration exhibits the second- largest score differential - between top performer Singapore and the bottom- country Yemen.