Canada falls to 14th place in global competitiveness ranking

Businesses need to develop new and improved products, services: Conference Board
|hrreporter.com|Last Updated: 09/06/2012

Canada has fallen two positions to 14th place in the Global Competitiveness Index 2012-2013, released by the World Economic Forum.

"Canada is a developed economy and it is at a stage where its capacity to innovate successfully determines its overall success. Canadian businesses must be able to compete on the basis of developing new or improved products, services, models and processes," said Daniel Muzyka, president and CEO, the Conference Board of Canada, which is the World Economic Forum’s Canadian Partner Institute.

"Unfortunately, as a country, we are not taking full advantage of our strong economic fundamentals, well-educated workforce and efficient markets to build higher value-added products and services. Too often, Canada fails to commercialize its good ideas into marketable products and services or capture the value from growth," he said.

More needs to be done at all levels of government, all sizes of business, and all types of educational institutions, said Muzyka.

Canada continues to benefit from a number of factors including its efficient markets, strong financial institutions, well-functioning government institutions and good infrastructure, found the report. However, Canada's ranking is hindered by such things as the nature of its competitive advantage (for example, Canada remains a good exporter of natural resources but not of value-added products), and its relatively poor capacity for innovation, said the Conference Board.

Canada has dropped five places in the global rankings since 2009. In addition to falling two places since last year from 12th to 14th position, Canada's overall competitiveness score also declined.

Overall, Switzerland tops the competitiveness rankings for the fourth consecutive year. Singapore remains in second position, while Finland takes the third spot.

Despite improving its overall competitiveness score from last year, the United States' ranking has declined for the fourth year in a row, falling two places to seventh position. The most competitive Asian economies are Hong Kong (nineth), Japan (10th) and Taiwan (13th).

Countries in Southern Europe, such as Portugal (49th), Spain (36th), Italy (42nd) and Greece (96th) continue to suffer from macroeconomic imbalances, poor access to financing, rigid labour markets and an innovation deficit, found the report.

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