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Korea is less competitive than it was last year: IMD

May 30,2019
Korea fell one spot in an annual international survey measuring the competitiveness of countries, affected by worsening economic performance.

The country ranked at 28 out of the 63 countries on the list, a notch below last year’s 27, according to the world competitiveness ranking conducted by Switzerland’s IMD Business School on Wednesday.

Of the four main indicators, Korea notably slipped in the economic performance sector, from 20th to 27th in the category.

The Finance Ministry attributed the decline to a downturn in investment, exports and the number of the newly hired in a statement evaluating the report.

“Despite sound gross domestic product and trade balances, [Korea] moved down 7 notches because of sluggish exports, investment and number of new employees,” it said.

The area of government efficiency also went down two spots from 29 to 31 since worsening sub-factors such as the rise of government debts offset improvement in support for opening new businesses and entrepreneurship.

In the index for infrastructure, the country again fell from 18th to 20th.

Its competitiveness in education also fell from 25th to 30th due primarily to lower marks measuring social demand for university education.

The country’s ranking has remained flat in recent years since it ranked at 29th in 2016 through 2017.

The lowest record to date stood at 41 in 1999, when the country was reeling from the fallout of the Asian financial crisis.

The heyday ran from 2011 and 2013, when Korea climbed as high as 22.

The Finance Ministry vowed to foster private investment and push for the swift implementation of a supplementary budget, although it wasn’t clear what measures will actually be put in place.

Singapore dethroned Hong Kong and the United States to take the top spot among the world’s most competitive economies for the first time in nine years. The institute cited the city state’s development in technological infrastructure and quality workforce as reasons it took top marks.

“Singapore’s rise to the top was driven by its advanced technological infrastructure, the availability of skilled labor, favorable immigration laws, and efficient ways to set up new businesses,” IMD Business School said in a statement.

The IMD World Competitiveness Rankings, established in 1989, uses 235 indicators from each of the 63 ranked economies. The ranking takes into account a wide range of “hard” statistics such as unemployment, GDP and government spending on health and education, as well as “soft” data from an Executive Opinion Survey covering topics such as social cohesion, globalization and corruption, according to the institute.

BY PARK EUN-JEE [park.eunjee@joongang.co.kr]


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