World Economy

Hong Kong Again Tops Heritage Ranking on Business Freedom

Hong Kong Again Tops Heritage Ranking on Business FreedomHong Kong Again Tops Heritage Ranking on Business Freedom

Hong Kong has once again beat key rival Singapore to be ranked the world’s freest economy by a Washington D.C.-based think-tank for the 23rd consecutive year.

The city scored 89.8 out of 100 points in the annual index of economic freedom compiled by the right-wing Heritage Foundation over 180 economies, up by 1.2 points from last year, beating Singapore by 1.2 points and edging the island nation to second place, news outlets reported.

North Korea was rated the least free economy, with only 4.9 points, while China was ranked 111th with 57.4 points, up 5.4 points. Taiwan clinched 11th place with 76.5 points, up 1.8 points. The UAE is ranked on top regionally and the eighth internationally in the Index.

Based on the Heritage Foundation data, the UAE jumped from the 25th position globally and the second regionally in 2016—to the 8th globally and first regionally in 2017, going past the United Kingdom, Luxembourg, and the United States—which occupied the 12th, 14th and 17th positions, respectively, Zawya reported.

The UAE also topped two of the leading Scandinavian economies: Denmark and Sweden.

Hong Kong topped the foundation’s 2017 list, while Singapore and New Zealand took the second and third spots. Others in the top 10 are: Switzerland (4th), Australia (5th), Estonia (6th), Canada (7th), UAE (8th), Ireland (9th) and Chile (10th).

The UK is placed in the 12th position, while the US took the 17th rank.

Among the (Persian) Gulf Cooperation Council states (Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain, and Oman), Qatar was at 29th ranking on the list; Bahrain 44th; Kuwait 61st; Saudi Arabia 64th and Oman 82nd.

The Index analyses economic policy developments in 186 countries. Countries are graded and ranked on 12 measures of economic freedom that evaluate the rule of law, government size, regulatory efficiency, and the openness of markets.

Per capita incomes are much higher in countries that are more economically advanced. Economies rated “free” or “mostly free” in the foundation’s 2017 Index generate incomes that are more than double the average levels in other countries—and more than five times higher than the incomes of people living in countries with “repressed” economies.

Not only are higher levels of economic freedom associated with higher per capita incomes, but greater economic freedom is also strongly correlated to overall well-being, taking into account such factors as health, education, environment, innovation, societal progress, and democratic governance.

Countries can get an immediate boost in their economic growth by implementing steps to increase economic freedom through forward-looking policies that encourage efficiency, innovation, and curb corruption.

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