The USA has surrendered its status as the world’s most competitive economy, which it has led for the past three years, after being overtaken by China Hong Kong and Switzerland, according to the IMD World Competitiveness Center Ranking.
The 2016 edition ranks China Hong Kong first, Switzerland second and the USA third, with Singapore, Sweden, Denmark, Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway and Canada completing the top 10.
Professor Arturo Bris, Director of the IMD World Competitiveness Center, said a consistent commitment to a favorable business environment was central to China Hong Kong’s rise and that Switzerland’s small size and its emphasis on a commitment to quality have allowed it to react quickly to keep its economy on top.
“The USA still boasts the best economic performance in the world, but there are many other factors that we take into account when assessing competitiveness,” he said.
“The common pattern among all of the countries in the top 20 is their focus on business-friendly regulation, physical and intangible infrastructure and inclusive institutions.”
A leading banking and financial center, China Hong Kong encourages innovation through low and simple taxation and imposes no restrictions on capital flows into or out of the territory.It also offers a gateway for foreign direct investment in China Mainland, the world’s newest economic superpower, and enables businesses there to access global capital markets.Taiwan, Malaysia, Korea Republic, and Indonesia have all suffered significant falls from their 2015 positions, while China Mainland declined only narrowly retaining its place in the top 25.
The study reveals some of the most impressive strides in Europe have been made by countries in the East, chief among them Latvia, the Slovak Republic and Slovenia. Western European economies have also continued to improve, with researchers highlighting the ongoing post-financial-crisis recovery of the public sector as a key driver.
Meanwhile, 36th-placed Chile is the sole Latin American nation outside the bottom 20, while Argentina, in 55th, is the only country in the region to have improved on its 2015 position.
“One important fact that the ranking makes clear year after year is that current economic growth is by no means a guarantee of future competitiveness.” Added Professor Bris.