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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, October 18, 2001

Finland reigns in global competitiveness

Associated Press

GENEVA — 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 today.

"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 survey results of 4,600 business executives. The executives provide opinions about economic factors for which there are no reliable data — efficiency of government institutions, the strength of local supplier networks and the nature of competitive practices.

Hong Kong, which held second place for two years until 1999, fell out of the top 10 to 13th place.

The survey was mostly completed before the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the United States, but Peter Cornelius, director of the Forum's Global Competitiveness Program, 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 time frame of about five to eight years, and that period shouldn't really be affected so much," he said.