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Netherlands Slipping Back in IMD World Competitiveness Rankings

The Netherlands has lost more ground in a global economic competitiveness ranking. The Netherlands is heavily constrained by austerity programs that are delaying recovery.

The annual ranking by the International Institute for Management Development (IMD), a top Swiss business school, placed the Netherlands 14th out of 60 countries. That represents a steady decline from 4th spot in 1997 and 11th last year.

In 1989, the Netherlands was on of the most competitive advanced economies in the world.

The UK and France in particular are losing their dominant position and competitive clout, while The Netherlands, Luxembourg and Finland need to adapt their competitiveness models to a changing environment.

The US has regained the No. 1 spot in 2013, thanks to a rebounding financial sector, an abundance of technological innovation and successful companies.

China (21) and Japan (24) are also increasing their competitiveness. In the case of Japan, Abenomics seems to be having an initial impact on the dynamism of the economy.

In Europe, the most competitive nations include Switzerland (2), Sweden (4) and Germany (9), whose success relies upon export-oriented manufacturing, diversified economies, strong small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and fiscal discipline. Like last year, the rest of Europe is heavily constrained by austerity programs that are delaying recovery and calling into question the timeliness of the measures proposed.

The BRICS economies have enjoyed mixed fortunes. China (21) and Russia (42) rose in the rankings, while India (40), Brazil (51) and South Africa (53) all fell. Emerging economies in general remain highly dependent on the global economic recovery, which seems to be delayed.

In Latin America, Mexico (32) has seen a small revival in its competitiveness that now needs to be confirmed over time and by the continuous implementation of structural reforms.