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Sweden 'fourth most competitive country'
A view of Gothenburg harbour, one of Sweden's busiest trading ports

Sweden 'fourth most competitive country'

Published: 18 May 2011 10:59 GMT+02:00
Updated: 18 May 2011 10:59 GMT+02:00

Sweden has fared well in a new ranking of the world's most competitive countries, climbing two spots into fourth place in a new ranking from the Swiss business school IMD.

Sweden comes in behind Hong Kong and the US, both of which tied for first place, and third place Singapore.

Sweden's favourable ranking and improvement on 2010 is due to strong economic growth, allowing it to overtake Switzerland and Australia in the 2011 list.

The IMD rankings include 59 countries and are based on statistics and assessments from business leaders.

“The world of competitiveness becomes more national. ‘World Competitiveness 2.0’ is thus characterised by a greater self-reliance of countries. It increasingly emphasises re-industrialisation, exports, and a more critical look at delocalisation,” wrote IMD's Stéphane Garelli.

Garelli explained that the trend has been triggered by the climb in commodity and transport prices as well as higher labour costs in emerging economies.

"National champions are favoured everywhere and borders re-surface - again!" he wrote.

IMD also released the results of its first "Government efficiency gap" survey.

According to the findings the US was "rescued" by its business efficiency while Sweden, along with Australia and Singapore, displayed a greater balance.

“Government spending has reached new highs since the recession: on average 47 percent of the GDPs in the most advanced economies. 12 European countries are already above the 50 percent threshold. The 23 biggest spenders are all European governments. How long can it last?" professor Garelli queried.

Garelli argued that in a new world of "state capitalism", government efficiency will assume increasing importance as a determinant of competitiveness.

Peter Vinthagen Simpson (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

12:17 May 18, 2011 by Birbun
Is it a joke?

Which mentally sane person would invest in Sweden where the taxes eat much more than half of your profit?

Sweden economically survives only because it's a relatively large country with many natural resourced distributed on around 9 millions inhabitants.

Try to put 50 millions of persons in Sweden and we will see how many it would competitive.
15:03 May 18, 2011 by khurram.k
totally agreed with Birbun .... Sweden is the country there its almost impossible to be rich ... here you can have a good life and good life means u can eat you can pay your rents and once in a month you can go out for cinema or returent..... otherwise here is noting special like US and if you have 50 inch LED tv in home that definately you have on partially payment way via ON OFF or ELGEGANT:.....

huh...
16:13 May 18, 2011 by LeoKinmann
Obviously the statistics don't take a lot of things into account. Keep posting news like this thelocal, keep adding more sweetener for the self-indulged Swedish chauvinists who don't know better.
17:11 May 18, 2011 by cornpone
Everyone knows Sweden cooks the books so that they come out on top in all this stats. Total BS. Worst country in Europe to start a small business. Now if they mean that Sweden is competitive because the oligarches run a corporatist (read fascist) economy where their profits are ensured by the government then yes I guess Sweden is competitive.
17:12 May 18, 2011 by swedejane
Corporate taxes are not the same as personal taxes, and personal income is not the same as corporate. I can buy that Sweden is ranked 4th in competitiveness. They have a well-educated talent pool, lots of natural resources, good infrastructure, and a strong legal system (the Assange case aside). There may be reasons for not wanting to *work* in Sweden, but as far as setting up a company I don't think it's as bad as some make it out to be.
19:46 May 18, 2011 by jamesblish
Wow, I didn't know we were an oligarchy. Learn something new every day.
19:48 May 18, 2011 by Renfeh Hguh
@khurram.k you don't have a clue do you. Sweden is a great place to make it rich, certainly better than many other countries of similar size.
19:52 May 18, 2011 by philster61
Errrr ..this report was done by the Swiss. When was the last time anybody took the Swiss seriously? The only thing Sweden competes with is to see if they can make their tax rate higher than Norways.
20:11 May 18, 2011 by Iraniboy
Can thelocal posters trust the words of specialists for a record now?

By the way being top of on the list is not really the best thing one country can achieve. HDI and people's overall education and health is a better representative of successful system!
20:46 May 18, 2011 by prince T
This is good news. The only thing is dat i dont see it at all
22:21 May 18, 2011 by bathplugds22
khurram.k & birbun........meow! saucer of milk for you two!
09:09 May 19, 2011 by Nemesis
Anyone who believes that Sweden is the fourth most competitive country in the world, please post me your credit card with pin number or send all your money for me to invest with no guarentee of any return.

This article is nonsense.

A suggestion for the local. If you are going to write an article try sticking to facts instead of repeating gibberish.
09:11 May 19, 2011 by stenhuggaren
I guess most of the posters here aren't coping too well in the competition.
09:42 May 19, 2011 by Marc the Texan
Sweden is competitive by Euro standards, but more competitive than Australia or even Canada? That just doesn't smell right.
12:51 May 19, 2011 by cogito
19:46 May 18, 2011 by jamesblish

"Wow, I didn't know we were an oligarchy. Learn something new every day"

No surprise, James. Your frequent posts reveal that you don't know much about anything--not about Sweden, and especially not about other countries.

Such cluelessness indicates you probably went to school in Sweden.
05:29 May 20, 2011 by cookiemaster
How can one compare Sweden and Switzerland !!? Sweden is number one exactly because of its swamps and unique swampy people who have developed there unlike anywhere else in the world. No country in Europe or in the world can compare with Sweden.

Switzerland is exactly opposite of Sweden. Corruption and multiculturalism except for isolated parts where culture still managed to survive somehow...
22:12 May 20, 2011 by lel
and with such competitive food prices .... not

Kg bannas in Uk 10kr

in Sweden 20kr

Tropicana juice 3 x 1 ltr for £3 in UK

1ltr for 28kr in Sweden

Prices from 10 days ago ...
13:13 May 21, 2011 by Mxzf
Food prices are much worse in Switzerland.

I don't think this is about starting small businesses, about income taxes or food prices. It's about how well the governments are doing and competitive the companies in the various countries are. Our IKEA, H&M etc are doing pretty ok, and we - contrary to popular belief - were not hit very hard by the economy crisis. We have lots of R&D.

I'm not saying we're doing that good, but everyone else - except those three - might very well be doing worse.
19:36 May 21, 2011 by hartleyhare
I don't know much about competitiveness, but I know something about food pricing. "lel" the price of bananas in the UK bears no resemblance to the cost of getting them to the store, UK retailers use them as a loss leader. At least the SE pricing is realistic and is more likely to give the growers a reasonable return. I suspect you'll find the Tropicana pricing in the UK is distorted by deals between Pepsi (the owners) and the retailers, while yes, in SE juice makes a nice margin for the store...
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