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Hong Kong once again ranked world's freest economy (with photo)

     The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government today (February 2) welcomed the Heritage Foundation's ranking of Hong Kong as the world's freest economy for the 22nd consecutive year.

     A Government spokesman said, "The determination of the Hong Kong Government to safeguard economic freedom in Hong Kong is beyond doubt, as free market principles are the cornerstones of our sustained economic development and prosperity."

     Among the 10 components measured in the 2016 Index of Economic Freedom Report, Hong Kong achieved high ratings of 90 or above in seven components, with the top positions globally in Business Freedom, Trade Freedom and Financial Freedom. The Foundation also recognised Hong Kong's prudent economic policy, high level of market openness, fiscal discipline and stable and transparent legal environment, as well as well-secured property rights, thereby maintaining the city's leading role as a global business and financial hub.

     This year, the overall score of Hong Kong dipped slightly when compared to the figure in the previous report, but the gap with Singapore, the second freest economy, widened slightly after narrowing for five consecutive years. Nevertheless, the overall scores of the two remained close. "This is a timely reminder that, with other regional economies progressing forward, we must keep up with the pace of global economic development closely and strive to enhance our global competitiveness," the spokesman said.

     The spokesman stressed, "The Government will continue to uphold the free market principles by providing a favourable business environment, ensuring fair competition and free trade, maintaining a simple tax regime with low tax rates, and keeping an efficient public sector. The Government will also continue with our best endeavours to uphold the rule of law and an independent judiciary."

     The spokesman added, "As other economies continue to move forward, we must continually make improvements in various areas, including enhancing our business facilitation measures, strengthening financial infrastructure, and fostering closer economic co-operation with major trading partners, so as to preserve Hong Kong's leading position in economic freedom."

     The 2016 Index of Economic Freedom Report was released in Washington, DC, by the Heritage Foundation on February 1 (Washington, DC, time). Hong Kong has been ranked the world's freest economy for 22 consecutive years since the index was first published in 1995. On a scale of 0 to 100, the overall rating of Hong Kong in this year's report was 88.6, 1.0 points lower than that of the previous year but well above the global average of 60.7.

Ends/Tuesday, February 2, 2016
Issued at HKT 07:31


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