Singapore ranks first in UN rating of industrial performance of 87 countries
Switzerland, Ireland, Japan, Germany and the United States ranked next, according to the report of the UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), which found that East Asia led all developing regions in its competitive industrial performance.
The report finds that major improvements have been made since 1985 among several middle-income developing economies, including China, Costa Rica, Malaysia, Mexico, the Philippines and Thailand. At the same time, it warns that "most developing countries [continue] to languish at the bottom of the performance and capability ladder."
Those nations face a key challenge in meeting intense competitive pressures while avoiding the "low road" of reduced wages, depreciated exchange rates and low labour and environmental standards, the report points out, calling for a global alliance to address this situation.
"Only a major concerted effort by the international community to remove obstacles to market access and support developing countries' capacity building to conform with the rules can redress inter-country disparities," UNIDO Director-General Carlos Magarinos writes in the introduction to the report.