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Four Baltic Sea Region countries in the top ten of global competitiveness

The 2007 State of the Region Report illustrates that the last year has seen exceptionally strong performance by the economies in the Baltic Sea Region, mainly due to the raise in labour productivity and mobilization. The region's FDI attraction has also improved significantly, while exports and patenting remain stable at high levels.

Consequently, several countries in the Region score very high on World Economic Forum's Global Competitiveness Index with Denmark, Sweden, Germany and Finland in the top 10.

The Global Competitiveness Index 2007, Top 10

1. United States 5,67
2. Switzerland 5,62
3. Denmark 5,55
4. Sweden 5,54
5. Germany 5,51
6. Finland 5,49
7. Singapore 5,45
8. Japan 5,43
9. United Kingdom 5,41
10. Netherlands 5,40
- The key strengths of the Baltic Sea Region are its sophisticated companies, infrastructure and skill base, innovative capacity, and openness for competition at equal terms for domestic and international companies, says the author of the report, Dr Christian Ketels, Principal Associate at Harvard Business School.

- On cluster and skills, two of the region's key assets, conditions remain strong but can easily deteriorate if no action is taken, says Ketels when launching the State of the Region Report 2007 Monday morning at the 9th annual Baltic Development Forum Summit in Tallinn.

In terms of the Lisbon Agenda, the State of the Region Report concludes that the countries in the Baltic Sea Region are ahead of their European peers and register the strongest track record on national policies, consistent with higher competitiveness. While the Region scores high on employment, innovation, social cohesion and environment, it is clearly weaker on economic outcomes and reform.

Despite its relative strengths, the Region must prepare for an increasing global competition and worsening demographics, which threaten to erode its current competitive advantages over time. To remedy these threats, the Region should draw more on its ability to cooperate across borders and work to integrate its business leaders closer in upgrading its competitiveness and business environment.

- The real test for the Baltic Sea Region is whether it can create the mechanisms that will make its economies fit for the challenges of the future, such as global mobility and competition, demographic trends, climate change and increasing environmental challenges, Dr. Ketels said.

The State of the Region Report, drawing on the World Economic Forum's Global Competitiveness Report - is written by Dr. Christian Ketels, Principal Associate at Professor Michael E. Porter's Institute for Strategy and Competitiveness at Harvard Business School. Over the years, it has become an appreciated and respected institution evaluating competitiveness, economic performance and prosperity in Northern Europe. The State of the Region Report is used by governments, organizations, financial institutions and private actors and is supported by the Nordic Investment Bank and the Nordic Council of Ministers.

The Baltic Sea Region is made up of Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, NW Russia, and Sweden.

Peter Frank | idw
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