Switzerland does well in competitiveness ranking

Hong Kong clinched the top spot thanks to its favourable business environment Keystone

Switzerland has come in second in the annual competitiveness ranking published by the IMD World Competitiveness Center in Lausanne. 

swissinfo.ch and agencies

Switzerland climbed two places in the rankings that were published on Monday, and was only outclassed by Hong Kong, which took top place. The United States, Singapore and Sweden completed the top five. A total of 61 economies were assessed. 

“Switzerland’s small size and its emphasis on a commitment to quality have allowed it to react quickly to keep its economy on top,” said Arturo Bris, director of the IMD World Competitiveness Center. 

The Alpine nation came first in 25 out of 342 criteria used to assess competitiveness. But this is no time to be complacent. The report also mentions some challenges that the country has to overcome to stay competitive in 2016. These include bilateral relations with the EU, a strong franc, not enough domestic competition, high social welfare and pension burden, and reconciling energy and environmental policies with economic objectives. 

The US lost its top spot even though it came first in terms of economic performance. European economic powerhouse Germany was relegated to 12th place. 

“The biggest danger for Germany is self-satisfaction," Bris said. "If it rejects that, it will get back into the top ten." 

Eastern European countries did particularly well in the region, especially Latvia (rank 37), the Slovak Republic (40) and Slovenia (43).

IMD’s World Competitiveness Yearbook measures the ability of countries to create and maintain an environment where businesses can compete. The countries’ business environments are assessed in terms of economic performance, government efficiency, business efficiency and infrastructure. Besides publicly available data, the rankings also take into account a survey of around 5,400 business executives, who assess the situation in their own countries. 

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