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Survey: U.S. Knocks Finland Off Top Spot As Most Competitive Economy

By Agence France-Presse The United States has knocked Finland off the top place as having the world's most competitive economy, a report by the World Economic Forum (WEF) said Nov. 12. The United States' rise in the rankings from second position last year in the WEF's annual Global Competitiveness Report for 2002-2003 is due to its "excellent performance in technology," the Geneva-based WEF said. Published since 1979, and in recent years produced in collaboration with Harvard University, the report measures the comparative strengths and weaknesses of 80 national economies. It is made up of two index rankings -- one covering prospects for growth over the coming five years and a second that measures an economy's current productive potential. For the United States, the report also highlighted a "business environment that is conducive to entrepreneurship and risk taking." It also scored well for its macroeconomic environment, although the WEF economists said the country's low savings rate "remains a matter of concern." Peter Cornelius, the WEF's chief economist, warned against complacency in the United States, adding "the country has to resolve outstanding reform issues, especially the need to improve its governance system." The United States held top position in both indexes for 2002-2003. Turkey experienced the worst performance in this year's report, slipping 16 places. It was dragged down mostly by the performance of its public institutions. The WEF, an independent international organization that is funded by contributions from 1,000 global companies, said that the report was intended to be a benchmarking tool for policy makers. Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2002

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