MANILA, July 20, 2005
 (STAR) By Zinnia B. Dela Peña - The Philippines’ overall global competitiveness ranking in the 60-country survey of this year’s World Competitiveness Yearbook went up three notches higher, mainly due to an improvement in the infrastructure and business efficiency categories.

The country ranked 49th this year from 52nd last year based on four broad categories: economic performance, government efficiency, business efficiency and infrastructure.

The Philippines’ standing fell in two major categories – from 37 to 41 in economic performance and from 42 to 47 in government efficiency.

On the other hand, the country’s ranking in infrastructure and business efficiency went up from 59 to 55 and from 49 to 38, respectively.

Business efficiency is a major component of international investment, international trade, and employment among others.

Government efficiency, on the other hand, refers to the extent to which government policies and practices are conducive to competitiveness.

The Philippines ranked 21st among 30 countries with population of more than 20 million.

It ranked 16th among 24 countries with gross domestic product per capita of less than $10,000.

Among the sub-components of the economic performance category, the Philippines was assessed as having a deteriorating domestic economy by ranking 58th.

International investment also went down by 22 notches to 57.

Among the 314 criteria used by the Switzerland-based International Institute for Management Development (IMD), the Philippines’ primary strength lies in its skilled labor force and low prices compared with other countries.

Asian Institute of Management president Roberto de Ocampo said the Philippines needs to improve in the areas of public finance, overall productivity, basic and scientific infrastructure, and political stability in order to draw more foreign direct investments into the country.

While the country’s competitiveness ranking improved, the rankings of its Asian neighbors also continued to climb significantly.

The United States ranked number one with a score of 100 points, followed by Hong Kong, with 93.07 points. Other Asian countries in the survey include Taiwan, which ranked 12th; Japan, 21st; Thailand, 27th; Malaysia, 28th; Korea, 29th; and India, 39th.

Since 1996, the AIM Policy Center has been the partner of IMD in conducting the Executive Opinion Survey and providing Philippine statistical data for the annual World Competitiveness Yearbook. IMD is a Switzerland-based leading graduate management institution that measures and ranks the ability of nations to create and maintain an environment that sustains market competitiveness.

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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