• Kyodo

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Japan and China fell behind in global competitiveness during the past year, while Taiwan and Hong Kong surged ahead, according to a world competitiveness survey released Wednesday by Lausanne-based Institute for Management Development.

The study, which ranks competitiveness through economic performance, infrastructure and government and business efficiency says the United States remains the most competitive economy despite a slowdown in growth.

Singapore, which saw its economy grow 9.9 percent in 2000, ranks second, followed by Finland, Luxembourg and the Netherlands.

Hong Kong’s economy, which saw a brisk 10.5 percent growth last year, improved its ranking six notches to sixth place this year, the second highest in Asia.

Japan dropped to 26th place from 24th last year, one place above Hungary.

IMD put Taiwan at 18th, up from 20th in 2000, and China at 33rd, down from 30th. South Korea remains ranked at 28th spot and Malaysia dropped down two ranks to 29th.

Thailand ranks 38th, the Philippines 40th, while Indonesia comes last in the 49-country list.

IMD said the slowdown in the U.S. and Japan, which together represent 46 percent of the world economy, is likely to affect all nations.

“Asia is likely to be the most affected from the slowdown of the U.S. and Japanese economies, because of a high rate of dependency of exports to these two countries,” IMD said.

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