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Austria leads in globalization

22. March 2016

According to the Austrian Business Agency, Austria ranks fourth in the latest globalization index compiled by the Swiss Economic Institute of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (ETH). This means Austria is one of the most globalized countries in the world. The Netherlands is at the top of the ranking, followed by Ireland and Belgium. Accordingly, the first four spots remain unchanged from the previous year, but all four countries are so close to each other that the differences are hardly perceptible, according to the ETH. Switzerland moved up two notches to fifth place, ahead of Singapore, which dropped one notch.

The index measures the strength of cross-border trade, investment and income flows in relation to the gross domestic product, as well as the influence of restrictions on trade and capital movements. The social dimension category deals in the broadest sense with economic and cultural exchange. Cross-border information flows such as the Internet, TV and newspapers are encompassed as well as the cultural proximity to the global mainstream based on the number of McDonalds and IKEA outlets or the export and import of books in relation to GDP. The ranking also includes tourism and the size of the foreign population. In 2013, social globalization increased more than in the previous years, with Austria, Singapore and Switzerland ranked first, second and third respectively.   

Austria is rated fourth in the world when it comes to political integration. This comprises a certain political significance considering the small size of the country, as Florian Hälg, a foreign trade expert at the Swiss Economic Institute explained. The assessment of political integration takes into account the number of foreign embassies in a country, the number of international organizations the country belongs to, the number of United Nations peacekeeping missions in which the country is involved, and the number of bilateral and multilateral agreements concluded since 1945. Italy is rated first, ahead of France and Belgium.

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