Top 10 Most Competitive Countries [SLIDESHOW]

The US retains the No. 1 spot in 2014, according to ranking released by IMD World Competitiveness Center on May 21.  

"The overall competitiveness story for 2014 is one of continued success in the U.S., partial recovery in Europe, and struggles for some large emerging markets," said Professor Arturo Bris, director of the IMD World Competitiveness Center. "There is no single recipe for a country to climb the competitiveness rankings, and much depends on the local context."

The US retains the No. 1 spot in 2014, reflecting the resilience of its economy, better employment numbers, and its dominance in technology and infrastructure.

There are no big changes among the top ten. Small economies such as Switzerland (2),Singapore (3) and Hong Kong (4) continue to prosper thanks to exports, business efficiency and innovation.

Europe fares better than last year, thanks to its gradual economic recovery. Denmark (9) enters the top ten, joining Switzerland, Sweden (5), Germany (6) and Norway (10).

Seven of the top 10 countries in the overall ranking for 2014 are also in the top 10 for having an image abroad that encourages business development, according to an exclusive IMD survey of executives based in each of these countries. In general there is a strong correlation between a country's overall competitiveness ranking and its international image as a place to do business.

"While economic performance changes from year to year, perceptions are longer-term and shift more gradually. They can also lead to a virtuous circle of better image and better economic performance," Professor Bris said. "So how executives feel their country is being perceived is a potentially useful guide to future competitiveness developments there."

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