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Swiss named runners-up in competitiveness study

Pulling in the same direction: cable car wheels in front of the production hall of ropeway manufacturer Garaventa in Goldau, canton Schwyz Keystone

Switzerland has climbed to second place in an annual competitiveness ranking covering 60 countries, published by the Lausanne-based IMD World Competitiveness Center.

This content was published on May 30, 2013 - 10:38
swissinfo.ch and agencies

This is Switzerland’s best ever performance, placing the country behind only the United States, which has regained the top spot.

In addition to Switzerland, the top ten featured two other European countries: Sweden (four) and Germany (nine). The study, now in its 25th year, said these countries have very diversified economies whose success relies strongly upon export-oriented manufacturing.

They also have a powerful platform of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with a high level of productivity and innovation.

This assessment contrasts with the euro area sinking into recession. The impact has been severe for Italy (44), Spain (45) and Portugal (46), which have all fallen several places in the overall ranking and have levels of unemployment that are potentially alarming for social stability, according to the report.

Swiss success

On a global macroeconomic level, Switzerland’s position is more constant and predictable than most countries, according to the IMD study.

The main results show a balance over time between what it deems the “pillars of competitiveness”: economic performance, government efficiency, business efficiency and infrastructure. This stability explained the advantages of the Swiss environment, it said.

Switzerland has always been resilient to economic cycles and the crisis – it is ranked third in 2013 on this particular measure. In addition, the cost of capital encourages business development (ranked first) and investment incentives are attractive to foreign investors (third).

Labour regulations also stimulate economic activities (fourth), according to opinion leaders. These leaders also highlight a competitive tax regime and a high level of education as key attractiveness factors.

The study concluded that Switzerland has managed to position itself internationally as a “talent economy” that meets the needs of companies and the market. Its educational system, promoting all fields of study and knowledge transfer between companies and universities, allows the country to maintain low unemployment levels.

IMD World Competitiveness Center

The IMD World Competitiveness Center has published the  “IMD World Competitiveness Yearbook “ since 1989.

The 2013 report assesses the competitiveness of 60 countries based on 333 criteria.

Two-thirds of these are derived from statistical indicators and one-third from the perceptions of opinion leaders .

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