Eduard Romanenko, Li Guoxu, Denion Galimuna Country Profile: Singapore With the population of only 5.18 million people and the total area of 710 sq km (189th among other countries), as of 2010 according to the World Bank database, Singapore is the 14th largest exporter and the 15th largest importer in the world. The total trade volume of the country in 2010 comprised USD 662, 658 bln contributing to trade to GDP ratio of 317.42%, the highest in the world. As Figure 1 demonstrates, since 1981 the ratio has been within the range of slightly less than 250 - 370%, which signifies the importance of trade to Singapore's economy and indicates a high degree of its openness. Figure 1. Export, Import and Trade to GDP Ratios for Singapore, %, 1981-2010. Source: World Bank database
From Figure 1 we can also distinguish three relatively recent drops in export, import and trade to GDP ratios: 1997-1999 downturn associated with Asian financial crisis, 2001 drop as a result of global recession and a slump in the technology sector and 2009 slowdown due to global financial crisis and recession. The major factors contributing to the openness of Singapore's economy are: geographical location and colonial past - due its status as the main British naval base in the region before independence, Singapore was often referred to as the "Gibraltar of the East"; highly developed market-based and exports-driven economy which is known as one of the freest, most innovative, most competitive, most business friendly and least corrupt in the world; along with Hong Kong, South Korea and Taiwan, Singapore is one of the original Four Asian Tigers; advanced infrastructure - among other things, the Port of Singapore is one of the five largest and busiest ports in the world; trade policy factor - Singapore's extensive network covers 18 regional and bilateral Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) with 24 trading partners. Singapore's trade is diversified across partners: in 2010, 15 major partners...
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