A run on watches and chocolates means we’re losing out to Switzerland. The land of perpetual neutrality tops the overall rankings in “The Global Competitiveness Report 2010-2011,” released Thursday, September 9, by the World Economic Forum ahead of its Annual Meeting of the New Champions 2010 in Tianjin, China.

The United States falls two places to fourth position, overtaken by Sweden (second) and Singapore (third), after already ceding the top place to Switzerland last year.

The report notes that “in addition to the macroeconomic imbalances that have been building up over time, there has been a weakening of the United States’ public and private institutions, as well as lingering concerns about the state of its financial markets.”

The Nordic countries continue to be well-positioned in the ranking, with Sweden, Finland (seventh) and Denmark (ninth) among the top 10, and with Norway at 14th. Sweden overtakes the United States and Singapore this year to be placed second overall. The United Kingdom, after falling in the rankings over recent years, moves back up by one place to 12th position.

The People’s Republic of China (27th) continues to lead the way among large developing economies, improving by two more places this year, and solidifying its place among the top 30. Among the three other BRIC economies, Brazil (58th), India (51st) and Russia (63rd) remain stable. Several Asian economies perform strongly, with Japan (sixth) and Hong Kong SAR (11th) also in the top 20. In Latin America, Chile (30th) is the highest ranked country, followed by Panama (53rd) Costa Rica (56th) and Brazil.

“Policy-makers are struggling with ways of managing the present economic challenges while preparing their economies to perform well in a future economic landscape characterized by uncertainty and shifting balances,” said Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum, said in a prepared statement. “In such a global economic environment, it is more important than ever for countries to put into place the fundamentals underpinning economic growth and development.”