New Zealand is number 16 out of 63 economies ranked for competitiveness by the IMD Business School in Switzerland.
New Zealand has retained this position since 2016.
Hong Kong takes the top spot for the second year in the annual rankings compiled by the IMD World Competitiveness Center, a research group at IMD business school.
Switzerland and Singapore came in second and third, with the USA ranking fourth, its lowest position in five years and down from third last year. The Netherlands completed the top five, jumping up from eighth last year.The IMD World Competitiveness Center has published the rankings every year since 1989.
"The results show New Zealand is a very competitive economy," says Prof Arturo Bris, director of the IMD World Competitiveness Center.
"But we should not confuse competitiveness with competition," says Bris, who joined Dr Christos Cabolis, chief economist of the IMD World Competitiveness Center, in a web conferrence to discuss the 2017 report.
The competitiveness of a country does not refer to its ability to compete with other countries, but the ability of the country to facilitate an environment in which enterprises can generate sustainable value, explains Bris, at the forum organised by Kerridge & Partners in Auckland.
Sustainable value creation is the long term capacity of enterprises to remain profitable, create fulfilling jobs, while minimising the environmental impact of their activities, he adds.
"It is paramount for a competitive economy that companies remain profitable."
Thus, the report looks at four competitiveness factors: government efficiency, economic performance, infrastructure and business efficiency.
"Countries collaborate and then become competitive, that collaboration is called trade," says Bris.
The IMD ranking highlights the fact that as economies collaborate and the world becomes more global, the competitiveness of all economies improves at the same time.He cites: "New Zealand will not be more competitive at the expense of another country. It will become competitive together with other countries.
"For us, it is extremely important that competitiveness is not competition. It is managing input to generate outputs for the productivity of the country."
The centre bases the ranking on 260 indicators, about two thirds of which come from 'hard' data such as national employment and trade statistics; and a third from more than 6,250 responses to an Executive Opinion Survey that measures the business perception of issues such as corruption, environmental concerns and quality of life.
The emphasis on hard facts ensures objectivity and transparency, says Bris.
The quality of the data is extremely important, and the listing covers only economies where they can get high quality data. Thus, some countries from Africa, Latin America, Eastern Europe and Asia were excluded.
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