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HK ranked world's freest economy for the 20th consecutive year (with photo)

     Hong Kong has been ranked the world's freest economy by the Heritage Foundation for the 20th consecutive year since the Index of Economic Freedom was first published in 1995.

     The Financial Secretary, Mr John C Tsang, said today (January 14), "We welcome the Heritage Foundation's high regard of Hong Kong as the world's freest economy, a ranking we have held for 20 consecutive years."

     Mr Tsang said that the HKSAR Government is determined to uphold economic freedom in Hong Kong, which is the cornerstone of sustained economic stability, growth and prosperity.

     "Market forces have driven the city's development as an international financial centre 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,¡¨said Mr Tsang.

     "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," he added.

     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.

     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 continues to stay second in investment freedom and property rights.

     The Heritage Foundation complimented Hong Kong, noting that the territory has effectively navigated global booms and busts, recording an overall score improvement of 1.6 points over the past two decades.

     The Heritage Foundation recognised Hong Kong's high degree of market openness, complemented by a transparent regulatory environment and competitive tax regime. In addition, the highly motivated workforce and the high level of labour freedom have added to Hong Kong's economic dynamism and resilience.

     The report ranked the degree of economic freedom of 178 economies around the world. The 10 factors assessed are business freedom, trade freedom, fiscal freedom, government spending, monetary freedom, investment freedom, financial freedom, property rights, freedom from corruption and labour freedom.

     Singapore and Australia remain second and third respectively in the 2014 Index of Economic Freedom.

     Of the other economies in Greater China, the Mainland ranks 137th, Macau 29th and Taiwan 17th.

Ends/Tuesday, January 14, 2014
Issued at HKT 16:15


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