The United States remains the most competitive economy in the world despite its ongoing financial crisis, according to a report released by the World Economic Forum (WEF) on Wednesday.
The U.S. economy is endowed with many structural features that make its economy extremely productive and place it on a strong footing to ride out business cycle shifts and economic shocks, said the annual Global Competitiveness Report.
Thus, despite rising concerns about the soundness of the banking sector and other macroeconomic weaknesses, the country's many other strengths continue to make it a very productive environment, the report said.
According to the report, Switzerland ranks second in competitiveness, followed by Denmark, Sweden and Singapore. European economies continue to prevail in the top 10 with Finland, Germany and the Netherlands following closely.
The top 10 list also include Japan and Canada.
China continues to lead the way among large developing economies, improving by four places this year and joining the top 30 for the first time, the report said.
China benefits greatly from its large and rapidly growing foreign and domestic market size, allowing for significant economies of scale, according to the report.
The country's macroeconomic stability also remains a source of competitive advantage, with the government budget moving into surplus, and manageable debt levels, although rising inflation has become an area of concern.
Innovation is becoming another competitive advantage for China, with rising company spending on Research and Development (R&D), coupled with strong university-industry research collaboration, and an increasing rate of patenting.
Other emerging economies such as India, Russia and Brazil also figure in the top half of the ranking, which covers a total of 134 economies.
The rankings are calculated from both publicly available data and the Executive Opinion Survey, a comprehensive annual survey conducted by the Geneva-based WEF together with its network of partner institutes.
The competitiveness factors considered include institutions, infrastructure, macroeconomic stability, health and primary education, higher education and training, goods market efficiency, labor market efficiency, financial market sophistication, technological readiness, market size, business sophistication and innovation.
(Xinhua News Agency October 9, 2008)