Survey: Finland takes over from U.S. as most competitive nation |

Survey: Finland takes over from U.S. as most competitive nation


GENEVA (AP) – Finland roared from sixth place last year to become the world’s most competitive nation, knocking the United States out of the top spot, according to a survey released Thursday.

”This country’s remarkable turnaround over the past decade serves as evidence of how quickly an economy’s prospects can be transformed by strong political institutions, a focus on technology, and sound macroeconomic management,” said the Global Competitiveness Report 2001.

The 352-page report, prepared by Harvard University Professors Jeffrey Sachs and Michael Porter and the World Economic Forum, is designed to forecast high rates of economic growth.

The report combines existing economic data of about 75 countries with the results of a survey of 4,600 business executives. The executives provide opinions about economic factors for which there is no reliable data – efficiency of government institutions, the strength of local supplier networks and the nature of competitive practices.

Singapore, which topped the list for four years before falling to second last year, was ranked fourth, below Canada which moved up from sixth.

Australia jumped seven places to fifth. Other new entries to the top 10 were Norway, Taiwan, Sweden and New Zealand. Hong Kong, which held second place for two years until 1999, fell out of the top ten to 13th place.

Luxembourg, which ranked third in last year’s survey, was left out of the list of 75 altogether this year. Peter Cornelius, director of the Forum’s Global Competitiveness Program, said the authors had only received a handful of responses from executives about the country and so felt unable to include it.

The survey added 17 new countries to its survey this year, including the Baltic states, Nigeria, Bangladesh, Jamaica and Uruguay. Bottom of the list was Zimbabwe, just below, in order, Paraguay, Nicaragua and Nigeria.

The survey was mostly completed before the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the United States, but Cornelius said they would not have a big impact because the survey is studying the long-term outlook.

”When we examine the competitiveness of countries, we have in mind a timeframe of about five to eight years, and that period shouldn’t really be affected so much,” he said.

The progress of Finland in the report was not mirrored in a rival survey last April that used different methods and data. The rating produced by the International Institute for Management Development of Lausanne, Switzerland, placed the United States and Singapore in the top two positions. Finland was ranked third.

The two organizations previously collaborated on one report, but parted ways in 1995 in a dispute over research methods.

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