Taiwan drops to No. 13 in WEF ratings

STAFF WRITER , WITH AGENCIES

Wed, Sep 27, 2006 - Page 12

Taiwan's economic competitiveness continued to decline over the past year, with poor scores in terms of institutional infrastructure, causing the country to slide to 13th place this year in the World Economic Forum's annual rankings, down from eighth place last year.

The nation's ranking also fell from being the second-most competitive economy in Asia last year to fourth place this year, after Singapore, Japan and Hong Kong, according to a poll released yesterday.

The poll was conducted for the 27th consecutive year, but only for the second year using a new formula, the forum said.

While Taiwan fared well in terms of innovation and higher education, and performed modestly in the category for public health services and macroeconomics, poor institutional infrastructure held the country back, the forum said.

South Korea also saw its ranking drop five places, to 24th this year from 19th place last year, the poll showed.

The US lost its position as the world's most competitive economy to Switzerland as budget and trade deficits prompted a slide to sixth in the rankings.

Switzerland jumped from fourth place last year and Finland, Sweden, Denmark and Singapore all overtook the US with Japan, Germany, the Netherlands and the UK rounding out the top 10 in the poll.

In terms of emerging markets, China dropped six places from last year to 54th.