Canada Falls to 14th Place in Global Competitiveness Ranking

OTTAWA, Sept. 5, 2012 /CNW/ - Canada falls two positions to 14th place in the Global Competitiveness Index 2012-2013, released today by the World Economic Forum. The Conference Board is the Canadian Partner Institute at the World Economic Forum's Centre for Global Competitiveness and Performance, and managed the Executive Opinion survey to obtain the candid perceptions of Canadian business leaders.

"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 Chief Executive Officer, The Conference Board of Canada. "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."

"More needs to be done—all levels of government, all sizes of business, and all types of educational institutions have an important role to play."

The 2012-2013 Global Competitiveness report notes that Canada continues to benefit from a number of factors including its efficient markets, strong financial institutions, well-functioning government institutions, and good infrastructure. However, Canada's ranking is hindered by such things as the nature of its competitive advantage (e.g., Canada remains a good exporter of natural resources but not of value-added products), and its relatively poor capacity for innovation.

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 Global Competitiveness rankings for the fourth consecutive year. Singapore remains in second position, while Finland overtakes Sweden for third spot.

The report notes that countries in Northern and Western Europe have consolidated their competitiveness positions since the financial and economic downturn in 2008. The Netherlands (5th), Germany (6th) and United Kingdom (8th) also rank in the top 10.

Despite improving its overall competitiveness score from last year, the United States' ranking declines for the fourth year in a row, falling two places to seventh position. The most competitive Asian economies are Hong Kong SAR (9th), Japan (10th), and Taiwan (13th). South Korea ranks 19th and China is 29th in this year's index.

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.

The Conference Board of Canada is addressing a number of the challenges identified in the Global Competitiveness Report 2012-13 through its Centre for Business Innovation—a five-year initiative that will help bring about major improvements in firm-level business innovation in Canada. The Conference Board will also release a series of competitiveness briefings over the coming months - providing detailed insights into Canada's global competitiveness rankings.

SOURCE: CONFERENCE BOARD OF CANADA

For further information:

Brent Dowdall, Media Relations, Tel.: 613-526-3090 ext.  448
E-mail: corpcomm@conferenceboard.ca

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