Open Markets Index

To further understand the extent to which governments are following through on their commitments to create genuinely open economies, ICC commissioned the development of an Open Markets Index (OMI) to generate a balanced and reliable measurement of a country's openness to trade. It uniquely combines indicators of actual, de facto, openness of markets with those reflecting government measures considered barriers to market entry.

ICCs OPEN MARKETS INDEX (OMI) - 3rd Edition - September 2015

ICCs Open Markets Index (OMI) 3rd Edition - 2015

Despite recurring pledges to roll back protectionist measures the 2015 OMI indicates that the G20 is failing to demonstrate global leadership on trade openness, with only one G20 nation ranking among the world's top 20 open trade markets.

The 2015 index found that the average score across the 75 countries has increased incrementally from 3.5 in OMI 2011 to 3.6 in OMI 2013 and to 3.7 in OMI 2015.

The two highest performing economies, and the only two ranked as excellent in terms of overall openness (scoring above 5.0), were again Hong Kong and Singapore. Meanwhile the worst-performing economies (scoring below 2.0), were Pakistan, Bangladesh, Ethiopia and Sudan.

None of the G7 economies are among the top 10 and only Germany ranks in the top 20 worldwide (19th). G20 economies in general were found to be behind the global standard, with an average aggregate score of 3.4. As for the rest of the leading G7 and G20 economies, Canada ranks 24th, Australian 27th, the UK 30th, Saudi Arabia 36th, France 37th, Republic of Korea 41st and the US 42nd. The G20 countries were found to perform poorest on average in terms of observed openness to trade, with 16 of the 20 scoring only average or below average on this measure. The two lowest scoring countries are the United States and Japan.

BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) continue to lag with a collective below average overall score of 2.8. Nonetheless, there are some indications of progress. While South Africa was the only BRICS member to achieve an average score of 3.2 in OMI 2013, Russia and China have now (narrowly) achieved average scores of 3.0 and 3.1 in OMI 2015.

The OMI is a product of ICC's World Trade Agenda (WTA), a collaboration between ICC and the Qatar Chamber of Commerce and Industry launched to help governments take action and shape trade policies that contribute to economic growth and job creation. This private-sector initiative aims to mobilize business to provide a practical and forward-looking trade and investment policy agenda that contributes to economic growth and job creation. The WTA seeks to inject fresh ideas and innovative solutions to overcome current obstacles in global trade negotiations and adapt multilateral rules to 21st-century trading realities.

The 2015 OMI indicates that trade policy is one of the upward trends across the index. Recommendations identified through the ICC World Trade Agenda may provide effective ways to help countries improve their trade policy scores and raise their performance in openness to trade and FDI components. These include:

  • Ratify and Implement the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement;
  • Complete the expansion of the WTO Information Technology Agreement (ITA), and encourage the growth of e-commerce worldwide;
  • Liberalize trade in service;
  • Foster 'greener' economic activity through trade, by making concrete progress in lowering trade barriers to environmental goods and services; and
  • Implement duty-free and quota-free market access for exports from least-developed countries.

According to a study by the Peterson Institute in Washington DC, if all of these agreements were ratified, total global export gains over the medium term might exceed US$2 trillion; total global jobs supported by export expansion could number 34 million; and global GDP gains could amount to US$2 trillion.

The results of the OMI serve two purposes:

  • The ranking of national market performance on openness to trade from most to least open is an effective way to concentrate attention on the need for improvements and to monitor progress; and
  • The evaluation of a country's performance across four indicators of openness to trade constitutes a tool for policymakers and authorities to identify deficiencies that deserve greater attention, thereby generating a roadmap of sorts for action and improvement.

3rd Edition - Open Markets Index (OMI) September 2015

2nd Edition - Open Markets Index (OMI) spring 2013

2nd Edition - OMI in the news

1st Edition - Open Markets Index (OMI) December 2011

Press release

More effort required to open economies to global trade, according to ICC Open Markets Index

More effort required to open economies to global trade, according to ICC Open Markets Index

• G7/G20 countries failing to demonstrate global leadership on trade• Germany the only G20 country in top 20 open markets globally• BRICS economies lagging, but show signs of opening• Singapore and... Read more