The strong economic growth for the US in 2005 and its position as the world's second biggest exporter contrasts with its huge budget deficit and foreign debt.
In Italy, Brazil, Mexico, Argentina and Venezuela, the governments are deemed a burden on competitiveness.
Italy is ranked 56th overall out of the 61 countries analysed for economic performance, government efficiency, business efficiency and infrastructure.
China and India are among the biggest improvers, but their governments need to keep pace with rapid economic expansion. Those countries with the most supportive governments include Finland and Denmark, ranked 10th and fifth respectively for overall competitiveness.
World competitiveness yearbook
IMD World Competitiveness Centre, May 2006.
Reviewed by Steve Lodge.