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An independent Catalonia would be the world’s 38th most competitive country

According to a recent study published by the Swiss research centre, IMD World Competitiveness Centre, Catalonia would be the 38th most competitive state in the world if it were independent. The list, headed by the United States, shows that an independent Catalonia would be 2 places above Spain, which currently occupies 40th position (including Catalonia). The report highlights the strengths of Catalonia such as business efficiency, as well as the weaknesses, which stem from certain inefficiencies of the public sector. Apart from focusing on quantitative indicators, the study also has a section that is based on qualitative surveys of a country’s companies. Catalan executives consider Singapore, Germany, Ireland and the UAE to be the most lucrative for business development and ranked Catalonia 24th on the list, which is 21 places above Spain.

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24 February 2015 05:42 PM

by

ACN / Harneet Bahal

Barcelona (ACN).- If Catalonia were independent, it would be the 38th most competitive state in the world according to a study by the Swiss Research centre, IMD World Competitiveness Centre. The United States heads the list and an independent Catalonia would be two places above Spain, which currently occupies  40th position (including Catalonia). Business efficiency has been highlighted as one of the strengths of Catalonia, while certain inefficiencies of the public sector remains a weakness. 61 of the most developed economies are displayed on the IMD World Competitiveness Centre list with the United States, Switzerland and Singapore leading the way. 


The report shines a spotlight on the strengths and weaknesses of Catalonia. As per the study, Catalonia is the 33rd state for business efficiency as compared to the other economies analysed. Amongst its strengths, labour productivity, availability of skilled workers and favourable working environments all promote business efficiency. However, difficulty in financing businesses and providing training for workers are some of the problems that have prevailed in this sector.

Other problems that persist in Catalonia are investment activity and the evolution of the labour market. Thus, in these economic categories Catalonia would rank 52nd due to a high rate of unemployment, especially amongst the youth. On a more positive note, the low risk of relocation of production and services, along with tourism revenue represents a high percentage of GDP and export diversification.

The Catalan Minister for Business and Employment, Felip Puig says, “the risk factors are cyclical, not structural” and that once the environment improves, “Catalonia is likely to climb up the rankings.” Puig is also confident that an independent Catalonia has “the strength to be an open and competitive country.”

Structural reforms are another area in the report, which are required in order to improve government efficiency. Catalonia is placed 43rd in this section. To improve the fight against corruption and fraud, the lack of transparency, and to reform the justice and labour framework, as well bureaucracy and barriers involved in the economic activity, are some of the areas that need to be tackled. In this regard, Puig asserted that the Catalan Parliament has already approved the draft law on administrative simplification and more recently, also approved a transparency law.

As for infrastructure, an independent Catalonia would be in the middle of the pack, at number 29. In this section, western countries are leading the way in comparison to emerging countries. Problems that need to be eradicated by Catalonia are lack of access to water and raw materials, the energy supply, the quality of air transport and logistics.

Catalonia is the 24th most attractive place to invest

Apart from focusing on quantitative indicators, the study also has a section which is based on qualitative surveys of a country’s companies. Catalan executives consider Singapore, Germany, Ireland and the UAE to be the most lucrative for business development and ranked Catalonia 24th on the list, which is 21 places above Spain. Upon being asked about the factors that make Catalonia attractive for investment, the elements that the executives less mentioned were political stability and predictability (6.7%), quality of corporate governance (3.3%), the competitiveness of taxation (3.3%), the competence of the government (1.7%) and access to finance (1.7%), which are therefore areas for improvement.

According to the study, the top ten economies in the world are, in this particular order: the United States, Switzerland, Singapore, Hong Kong, Sweden, Germany, Canada, the United Arab Emirates, Denmark and Norway. Coming in at 38th position is Catalonia, which is at a similar level to Indonesia (37th place) and Russia (39th place), and is ahead of Spain as a whole.

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  • A factory near Girona (by ACN)

  • A factory near Girona (by ACN)