Fri, Jan 13, 2012 - Page 12 News List

Economy ranks 18th freest in world

Staff Writer, with CNA, Hong Kong

Taiwan was ranked as the world’s 18th freest economy, with a strong commitment to structural reform and openness to global trade, according to this year’s Index of Economic Freedom released by the US Heritage Foundation and the Wall Street Journal yesterday.

Of the 179 countries and areas classified in the 18th annual index, Taiwan’s economic freedom score came in at 71.9. That score is 1.1 points higher than last year, with improvements in six of the 10 economic freedoms, including business freedom and government spending.

Taiwan was ranked fifth freest out of 41 economies in the Asia-Pacific region.

“A strong commitment to structural reform and openness to global commerce have enabled Taiwan to become a global leader in economic freedom,” the foundation said in a page about Taiwan.

It also said that President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), elected on a platform that promised a more open economic relationship with China, had moved to relax cross-strait barriers and had negotiated a formal economic agreement — the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement — with China.

However, the foundation indicated that corruption and a rigid labor market continued to restrain Taiwan’s overall economic freedom.

Meanwhile, Hong Kong maintained its position as the world’s freest economy for the 18th consecutive year, with a score of 89.9.

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