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The Netherlands eighth strongest economy on Competitive Countries List

Jumped from fifteenth place

Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill

AMSTERDAM - The Netherlands placed eighth in the annual ranking order of the most competitive economies in the world in 2006, reports a recent survey by the Swiss International Institute for Management Development (IMD). A year earlier, the Netherlands ranked 15th.

For the first time since 2002, the Netherlands has returned to the world's Top 10 most competitive economies. After Luxembourg, the Netherlands is now the highest-ranking country from the euro currency zone. Germany (now 16th) has risen even faster. It moved up nine places.

The Netherlands' rise can be attributed to an upswing in the economy and to structural reforms by the Balkenende cabinet. Economic growth, low inflation and solid budgetary policy helped the Dutch gain points, as do economic reforms and higher domestic investments and of positive Dutch business results abroad.

Exports are the engine driving the Dutch economic recovery. In volume, this rates sixth of all countries. The growing euro currency zone economy was responsible for the strong growth. Dutch re-exports do play a prominent role; these have lower added-value than do exports of products made in the Netherlands.

The rankings are based on a combination of hard data (two-thirds) and polls among top executives (one-third). The U.S., Singapore and Hong Kong topped the list. China (up three at 15th, just ahead of Germany) and India (unchanged at 27) made little progress.