Sat, Feb 03, 2018 - Page 12 News List

Nation falls two places in economic freedom report

Staff writer, with CNA

Taiwan was 13th in this year’s global rankings for economic freedom, a fall of two places from last year due mainly to a lower score in investment freedom, according to the US-based Heritage Foundation, which released the index yesterday.

One year after the nation achieved its highest ranking of 11th on the index, which was first compiled in 1995, it fell to 13th in the latest rankings, with declines in property rights and business, labor, monetary and investment freedoms.

Meanwhile, it recorded improvements in government integrity, judicial effectiveness, government spending, tax burden and fiscal health, with its performance in trade freedom and financial freedom unchanged.

A drop of five points in investment freedom and a rise of 7.1 points in fiscal health canceled each other out to give Taiwan an overall economic freedom score of 76.6, which was 0.1 points higher than last year’s score, the think tank said in a report.

Overall, the report found that “a relatively well-developed commercial code and open-market policies that facilitate the flow of goods and capital have enabled small and medium-size enterprises to become the backbone of Taiwan’s expansion.”

The nation ranked fifth among the 43 nations in the Asia-Pacific region, with an overall score that was above the regional average of 61 and the global average of 61.1.

However, the Heritage Foundation recommended that the nation “make more reforms to increase competition and openness” to reduce its reliance on China and increase trade with other Asian nations.

The National Development Council released a statement in response to the ranking, saying that it would continue to monitor the liberalization of Taiwan’s financial sector as the government makes headway with its initiative to eliminate barriers to foreign investment in the nation.

The top six countries and territories in descending order were Hong Kong, Singapore, New Zealand, Switzerland, Australia and Ireland.

The results of this year’s index were based on data from each nation between July 2016 and June last year.

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