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Benchmark guide cites Canada, Singapore as winners for business

This year''s Competitive Alternatives guide from analysts at KPMG (New York, NY), which compares business costs in North America, Europe, and Asia, again sees Singapore as having the greatest cost advantage over the United States (used as the baseline), while Canada beat out all of the other G7 countries. The study measures the combined impact of 27 cost components that are most likely to vary by location, as applied to specific industries and business operations.

The basis for comparison is the after-tax cost of startup and operation for representative business operations, including plastics processing, calculated over a 10-year planning period. Consequences are based on the combined results for a group of comparable cities in each country, and are expressed as a comparison to what would be charged in the U.S.

Singapore had a 22.3% cost advantage over the U.S. With GDP per capita now on par with some western European countries, Singapore is the first newly industrialized country to be included as a Competitive Alternative. Canada leads G7 countries having the lowest business costs, with a 5.5% cost advantage over its neighbor to the south.

France and Netherlands had the best results among European countries, coming in at a cost advantage over the U.S. of about 4.4%. Italy and Britain were at 2%. Japan, with a cost disadvantage of 6.9% and Germany, which is 7.4% more expensive than the U.S., nevertheless both improved their cost competitiveness over the U.S. compared to the results in 2004. Japan was assisted by the weakening yen compared to the dollar and better local business costs. Germany, as well as Netherlands, France, and Italy, were able to improve their cost competitiveness compared to the same period a year earlier.-Robert Colvin; [email protected]

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