Taiwan drops to 11th in IMD's 2013 world rankings

Geneva, May 30 (CNA) Taiwan was ranked 11th in the 2013 global competitiveness rankings by the Switzerland-based International Institute for Management and Development (IMD), down five notches from 2012, due mainly to its weak domestic economy and employment. Meanwhile, Taiwan remained in third place in the Asia Pacific for the third consecutive year. Among the major economies with a population of over 20 million, Taiwan ranked fourth, one notch lower than in 2012. Among the four major indicators, Taiwan's economic performance was 16th among the 60 economies covered in the yearbook. Last year, Taiwan placed 13th in this category. The Taiwan government's efficiency fell from fifth in 2012 to the eighth in 2013, while the performance of its public finance and societal framework improved slightly. Its fiscal policy remained in fourth place in the rankings for the second consecutive year, while the rankings of its other sub-factors, including public finance, institutional framework and business legislation, all fell from last year. In the business efficiency indicator, Taiwan's ranking dropped to 10th from fourth in 2012. The sub-factors in this category include productivity and efficiency, labor market, finance, management practices, attitudes and values. In the fourth major indicator of infrastructure, Taiwan ranked 16th, a decline from 12th place last year. It also scored poorly in the sub-factors of basic infrastructure, scientific infrastructure and health and environment, but improved slightly in education. Its technological infrastructure fell to the fifth from the fourth in 2012. Council for Economic Planning and Development (CEPD) Minister Kuan Chung-ming said that despite Taiwan's drop in terms of overall performance, its rankings of eighth, sixth, seventh and 11th in the past four years were the best in 16 years. In addition, this year, its showing in certain sub-factors has improved, he noted. Kuan said that the government will take measures to respond to its fall in the rankings, including relaxing regulations, improving government efficiency and helping to enhance business efficiency. The IMD said Taiwan needs to strengthen economic innovation and openness, and should implement industrial restructuring and upgrades. It should also work for economic growth through job creation, continue its efforts at equitable income distribution, and work to ensure green growth and social inclusion, the IMD suggested. The U.S. retained the No. 1 spot in the 2013 rankings, thanks to a rebounding financial sector, an abundance of technological innovation and successful companies. China (21) and Japan (24) are also improving their competitiveness, according to the report. In the case of Japan, "Abenomics" seems to be having an initial impact on the dynamism of the economy, the report said. Much of Europe is still heavily constrained by austerity programs that are delaying recovery, the IMD said. The BRICS economies, meanwhile, have enjoyed mixed fortunes. China (21) and Russia (42) rose in the rankings, while India (40), Brazil (51) and South Africa (53) all fell, according to the report. "While the euro zone remains stalled, the robust comeback of the U.S. to the top of the competitiveness rankings, and better news from Japan, have revived the austerity debate," said Professor Stephane Garelli, director of the IMD World Competitiveness Center. (By Y.L. Kao)