New Economy widens US lead in world competitiveness league

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The Independent Online

The United States remains by a long way the most competitive country, an annual league table published today shows. Its New Economy success has cemented its lead, with 10 per cent of US gross domestic product expected to be generated on the internet in 2003.

The United States remains by a long way the most competitive country, an annual league table published today shows. Its New Economy success has cemented its lead, with 10 per cent of US gross domestic product expected to be generated on the internet in 2003.

Apart from Singapore in second, northern European countries dominate the top slots in the competitiveness league, with Iceland, Sweden and Ireland the biggest climbers. The report, by the International Institute for Management Development in Switzerland, says significant investment in technological infrastructure has boosted the competitive strength of most Scandinavian economies.

Stéphane Garelli, project director, said these states are among the world's leaders in terms of internet connections, telecommunications and computer use. "They highlight the positive impact the New Economy can have on the competitiveness of nations." Finland rose from 15th in 1996 to third. Iceland leapt from 17th to 10th.

The UK remains at number 15, having dropped from 11th in 1997. The report describes 1999 as a "scary" year in the UK and notes that the country has languished in the table since the advent of a Labour government less committed than its predecessor to deregulation. The bottom of the table offers up few surprises, with Russia 47th and last.

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