Hong Kong tops in economic freedom, but bureaucracy puts standing at risk
ACCORDING to 2012 Index of Economic Freedom, Hong Kong continues its top ranking since the index's first publication in 1995, gaining an impressive score of 89.9 out of 100 against a global average of 59.5. Monday, 16.Jan.2012, 00:29 (GMT+3)
ACCORDING to 2012 Index of Economic Freedom, Hong Kong continues its top ranking since the index's first publication in 1995, gaining an impressive score of 89.9 out of 100 against a global average of 59.5.
Hong Kong was praised for its financial and trade freedom where it ranked top and its investment freedom and property rights came in second, and in third place its business freedom, according to the index compiled by the American Heritage Foundation and the Wall Street Journal. Canada's Fraser Institute made the same assessment last year.
"We see the role of the government as that of an active facilitator. We provide a business-friendly environment where all firms can compete on a level-playing field," said Hong Kong Chief Executive Donald Tsang.
Hong Kong was also recognised for its growing sophistication in relations with mainland China, which ranked 138th in the index as well as being praised for its efficient and transparent tax system.
One setback noted was the introduction of the minimum wage law, creating a more bureaucratic and politicised economy. According to Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce (HKGCC) CEO Shirley Yuen, the impact of this could be detrimental to businesses given the economic turbulence, and maintaining a pro business environment is key to offset concerns of rising operating costs and wages.
Second highest ranked economies remained Singapore and Australia as third. For other economies in Asia, Macau stood in at 19th and Taiwan in 18th place. Notable newcomers include the first African country of Mauritius at eighth place. The US which has been dropping in ranking over the last five years, slipped down to 10th position.