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According to the World Economic Forum, Switzerland passed the U.S. to gain the top spot in the recently released Global Competitiveness Report 2009-2010. The report ranks countries based on 12 criteria, such as Labor Market Efficiency, Financial Market Sophistication, Technological Readiness, Business Sophistication, and Innovation. Factors that influenced the U.S. dip to the number-two spot included “concerns on the part of the business community about the government’s ability to maintain arms-length relationships with the private sector, and in the perception that the government spends its resources wastefully.”*
The timing is apropos, as the challenges continue for ceramic and glass decorators that are trying to remain competitive despite multiple and increasing government regulations. Several pieces of new legislation are in the works that could make it even tougher. See “Industry Regulation Heats Up,” pp. 11-12, for additional details.
It’s too early to tell if the recent appointment of Ron Bloom as the Obama administration’s senior counselor for Manufacturing Policy will have a positive impact on the state of U.S. manufacturing. But despite economic trends or government policies, one thing is certain-manufacturers in the ceramic, glass and related industries will continue to work to increase their competitiveness.
*Additional details regarding the Global Competitiveness Report are available at www.weforum.org.