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Hong Kong Ranked As World's Freest Economy For 20th Year

by Mary Swire, Lowtax.net, Hong Kong
16 January, 2014

For the 20th consecutive year, Hong Kong has maintained its position as the world's freest economy, according to the 2014 Index of Economic Freedom, published annually by The Heritage Foundation.

Financial Secretary, John C Tsang, stated that "market forces have driven the city's development as an international financial center as well as a leading trade, services and logistics hub in the past few decades. They will continue to drive our economic engines by developing our strengths and potentials."

Welcoming the ranking, he confirmed that "the Government is committed to maintaining the key elements of economic freedom including the rule of law, a low and simple tax system, and a level-playing field for all firms operating in Hong Kong, while establishing an appropriate regulatory regime to ensure the integrity and smooth functioning of the free market. We also strive to remove impediments to industries tapping into new markets."

According to the 2014 Index of Economic Freedom released today, Hong Kong achieved an overall score of 90.1 (on a scale from 0 to 100), registering a 0.8 point increase when compared with last report, and well above the global average of 60.3 (which was itself a 0.7 point increase above the 2013 average). Hong Kong has recorded an overall score improvement of 1.6 points over the past two decades.

Among the 10 economic freedom factors assessed, Hong Kong has achieved a steady rise in the ranking on business freedom to attain first place this year. Hong Kong maintains its top position in trade and financial freedom, while it continues to stay second in investment freedom and property rights.

The Heritage Foundation was also said to have recognized Hong Kong's high degree of market openness, complemented by a transparent regulatory environment and competitive tax regime.

Singapore and Australia remain second and third respectively in the new ranking, while Switzerland improved to reach fourth and push New Zealand into fifth-place. Canada finished sixth again, followed by Chile, Mauritius, Ireland (a re-entry into the top ten) and Denmark.

The United States score fell so much (particularly in fiscal freedom, business freedom and property rights) that, not only did it drop out of the top 10, but it fell to 12th overall, placing it again behind Canada.

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