Covers environment, transportation, urban and regional planning, economic and social issues with a focus on Finland and Portugal.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Best Countries for Business (Forbes): Denmark, Ireland and Finland

Danish wind turbines near Copenhagen. Wind often flows briskly and smoothly over water since there are no obstructions by

Forbes’ website has published the list of the best countries for business. This year Denmark tops the annual ranking. Here are the first 25 countries:

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1 Denmark
2 Ireland
3 Finland
4 United States
5 United Kingdom
6 Sweden
7 Canada
8 Singapore
9 Hong Kong
10 Estonia
10 Switzerland
12 New Zealand
13 Australia
14 Netherlands
15 Norway
16 Israel
17 Iceland
18 Belgium
19 Chile
20 Portugal
21 Germany
22 Luxembourg
23 Austria
24 Japan
25 France

No. 1: Denmark ( 2007 Rank: 4)

The Danish economy is a mix of low inflation and low unemployment with emphasis on entrepreneurship and lower taxes. These qualities combined with high marks for innovation and technological savvy lift Denmark to the top of the ranking of the Best Countries for Business.

After winning a third term last year, Danish prime minister Anders Rasmussen has announced plans to cut taxes while addressing Denmark's need to prevent innovative entrepreneurs from pursuing international efforts by backing a new entrepreneurial academy known as 180academy.

No. 3: Finland (2007 Rank: 7)

A center-right government, elected in April 2007, plans to combat declining investment and labor shortages through tax cuts, budget increase for government-funded research and development and the merger of 3 Helsinki universities.

“Finland has a highly industrialized, largely free-market economy with per capita output roughly that of the UK, France, Germany, and Italy. Its key economic sector is manufacturing - principally the wood, metals, engineering, telecommunications, and electronics industries. Trade is important; exports equal nearly two-fifths of GDP. Finland excels in high-tech exports, e.g., mobile phones. Except for timber and several minerals, Finland depends on imports of raw materials, energy, and some components for manufactured goods. Because of the climate, agricultural development is limited to maintaining self-sufficiency in basic products. Forestry, an important export earner, provides a secondary occupation for the rural population. High unemployment remains a persistent problem. In 2007 Russia announced plans to impose high tariffs on raw timber exported to Finland. The Finnish pulp and paper industry will be threatened if these duties are put into place in 2008 and 2009, and the matter is now being handled by the European Union.”

No. 20: Portugal (2007 Rank: 23)

“Portugal has become a diversified and increasingly service-based economy since joining the European Community in 1986. Over the past two decades, successive governments have privatized many state-controlled firms and liberalized key areas of the economy, including the financial and telecommunications sectors. The country qualified for the European Monetary Union (EMU) in 1998 and began circulating the euro on 1 January 2002 along with 11 other EU member economies. Economic growth had been above the EU average for much of the 1990s, but fell back in 2001-07. GDP per capita stands at roughly two-thirds of the EU-27 average. A poor educational system, in particular, has been an obstacle to greater productivity and growth. Portugal has been increasingly overshadowed by lower-cost producers in Central Europe and Asia as a target for foreign direct investment. The budget deficit surged to an all-time high of 6% of GDP in 2005, but the government reduced the deficit to 2.6% in 2007 - a year ahead of Portugal's targeted schedule. Nonetheless, the government faces tough choices in its attempts to boost Portugal's economic competitiveness while keeping the budget deficit within the eurozone's 3%-of-GDP ceiling.”

No. 4: United States (2007 Rank: 1)

The weak US dollar continues to weigh on global commodity prices, though the Fed has signaled plans to leave interest rates at current levels, if not higher, in the coming months as the domestic economy sputters.

Germany (No. 21 lost 9 places). For France (No. 25, lost 9 places), the scandals in the banking system and tougher barriers for entrepreneurs led to decrease. Saudi Arabia, regardless of higher inflation from booming oil exports, has tackled inequities in its markets, expanding investor rights as it evolves from an oil state to a center for investment in the Middle East.

Socioeconomic indicators to compile the ranking:

Trade Freedom
Monetary Freedom
Property Rights
Red Tape
Investor Protection
Personal Freedom
Corporate Tax Rate

Jack Gage, Special Report, The Best Countries For Business,



Linda said...

Hi Mokki.... glad to see you are in one of the best countries for business! congrats

Alex Holmes said...

The VERY week US dollar should help American companies on a global scale, but it makes for expensive travel, which for some people means lower overall welfare.

RennyBA said...

Very interesting analyses and ranking - thanks for sharing!

I can tell Norway's lower ranking is due to governmental intervention. That's part of the social democratic system as securing welfare to everyone is important. That's good too know if you are poorer and/or need medical care and when you are retiring.

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