Hong Kong has been ranked as the world’s freest economy for the 14th
consecutive year by the Heritage Foundation in the foundation’s 2008
Index of Economic Freedom study released on Tuesday.


According to the study report, Hong Kong scores exceptionally well in almost all areas of economic freedom.

Among the 10 individual areas assessed, Hong Kong ranks first in
trade freedom, investment freedom, financial freedom and property
rights. Hong Kong also ranks in the top 10 in another four areas –
fiscal freedom, government size, monetary freedom and labor freedom.

The report noted that Hong Kong’s income and corporate tax rates
were very competitive, and overall taxation was relatively small as a
percentage of gross domestic product (GDP).

It also said that Hong Kong’s business regulation was simple, the
labor market was highly flexible, and investment in Hong Kong was
strongly encouraged with virtually no restrictions on foreign capital.

The foundation also complimented Hong Kong as one of the world’s
leading financial centers, with its regulation of banking and financial
services both non-intrusive and transparent. The study noted that
property rights were protected by an independent and virtually
corruption-free judiciary.

Compared to Singapore, Hong Kong fares better in regard to trade
freedom, fiscal freedom, investment freedom and financial freedom,
while Singapore fares better in business freedom, government size,
monetary freedom, freedom from corruption and labor freedom. Both Hong
Kong and Singapore are ranked first in property rights.

"We are determined to uphold Hong Kong’s position as the freest
economy in the world," Hong Kong Financial Secretary John C Tsang said
while welcoming the study report.

"We see the role of the HKSAR government as that of a facilitator.
We provide a business-friendly environment where all firms can compete
on a level-playing field and establish an appropriate regulatory regime
to ensure the integrity and smooth functioning of a free market," Tsang

The study measured the degree of economic freedom of 157 economies
worldwide by assessing 10 factors: business freedom, trade freedom,
fiscal freedom, government size, monetary freedom, investment freedom,
financial freedom, property rights, freedom from corruption, labor
freedom. Hong Kong retained its position as the freest economy in the
world, followed by Singapore and Ireland.

Via China Daily