US 'world's best environment for IT producers'

Protectionist instincts are on the rise in many governments’ technology sector policies, according to The Economist Intelligence Unit’s latest study into IT sector competitiveness among 66 countries.

The IT sector is viewed by most policymakers as an important engine of growth, and economic stimulus packages have often included measures to help boost domestic IT output, the report – ‘Resilience amid turmoil: Benchmarking IT industry competitiveness 2009’ - suggests. The ‘buy local’ provisions attached to some plans, however, fail to recognise the global nature of the IT industry.

These and schemes to support ‘national champions’, or other struggling domestic producers, will only prevent more innovative IT firms from being able to compete, and are likely to harm long-term sector competitiveness, the report suggests.

Despite the emergence of such protectionist impulses, the US retains its top ranking in the Economist Intelligence Unit’s IT industry competitiveness index in 2009. Other strong performers in the index are Canada and west European countries such as Finland, Sweden and the Netherlands.

Each country has highly-developed and widely-accessible IT infrastructure, and offer ‘strong support for technology R&D’, says the report. US leadership is also consolidated by an educational environment which continues to develop technology talent.

In emerging markets, large pools of skilled IT employees remain a significant advantage for China, India, Russia, and other countries, but uneven progress in other areas, such as IT infrastructure, remains ‘a drag on their IT sector competitiveness’.

‘Resilience amid turmoil: Benchmarking IT industry competitiveness 2009’ was sponsored by the Business Software Alliance (BSA).

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