Business

Switzerland tops competitiveness league around globe

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Switzerland has again been ranked as the world's most competitive economy.

The verdict comes from the World Economic Forum (WEF) which holds an annual meeting of business leaders in Davos in Switzerland each year.

The WEF puts Switzerland at the top of its latest ranking for the eighth year in a row, followed by Singapore and the US, with the UK at seventh.

However, the WEF warns that rising global protectionism is undermining economic growth and prosperity.

"A 10-year decline in the openness of economies at all stages of development poses a risk to countries' ability to grow and innovate," the WEF says.

It explained that the trend, based on a scrutiny of 130 economies, had been gradual and was mainly due "to a rise in non-tariff barriers, although three other factors are also taken into account: burdensome customs procedures; rules affecting FDI [foreign direct investment] and foreign ownership".

The WEF added: "It is most keenly felt in the high and upper middle income economies."

UK's 'sharper edge'

The report warns that attempts by some governments to stave off recession and stimulate economic growth via monetary polices such as quantitative easing have been ineffective.

The UK's Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, said: "Today's report by the World Economic Forum, which ranks Britain as the 7th most competitive country, up from 10th in 2015-16, demonstrates our ability to sharpen our edge and improve our competitiveness," he said.

"This government will build on that progress, as we demonstrate to the world that Britain continues to be highly competitive and open for business."

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