Declining openness major threat to global competitiveness: report

Updated: 2016-09-29 10:12


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GENEVA - A 10-year decline in the openness of economies at all stages of development poses a risk to countries' ability to grow and innovate, according to The Global Competitiveness Report 2016 to 2017, published on Wednesday by the World Economic Forum(WEF).

The trend, which is based on perception data from the Global Competitiveness Index, was gradual and was attributed mainly to a rise in non-tariff barriers.

"Declining openness in the global economy is harming competitiveness and making it harder for leaders to drive sustainable, inclusive growth," said Klaus Schwab, WEF founder and executive chairman.

WEF's competitiveness report is an annual assessment of the factors driving productivity and prosperity in more than 130 economies. According to the latest report, for the eighth consecutive year, Switzerland ranks as the most competitive economy in the world, narrowly ahead of Singapore and the United States. Following them is The Netherlands and then Germany.

China retains its 28th rank for the third year in a row, remaining top among the BRICS grouping. Its overall score improves, thanks to progress of the country's innovation ecosystem.

Yet the country still lags behind in technological readiness despite a significant improvement since last year.

The report suggested that a more widespread adoption of technology by business and the population at large in the country would increase productivity and create a more fertile innovation ecosystem.

The report also sheds light on why quantitative easing and other monetary policy measures have been insufficient in reigniting long-term growth for the world's advanced economies.

The report finds that interventions by less competitive economies failed to generate the same effect as those performed in economies with high scores, suggesting that strong underlying competitiveness is a key requirement for successful monetary stimulus.