Taiwan achieves best ever ranking in economic freedom index

2017/02/16 20:09:34
Taiwan achieves best ever ranking in economic freedom index

Taipei, Feb. 16 (CNA) Taiwan was listed 11th in the 2017 global rankings for economic freedom, jumping three places to gain its highest ranking ever, according to the Heritage Foundation, which released the index Wednesday.

Taiwan was ranked ahead of both the United Kingdom (12th) and the United States (17th), the Heritage Foundation's Index of Economic Freedom showed.

Taiwan scored 76.5 points, a gain of 1.8 points from the previous year and its highest score ever, rising from 14th last year to 11th among the 186 countries covered by this year's index.

In the Asia Pacific region, Taiwan placed fifth, after Hong Kong, Singapore, New Zealand and Australia, in that order.

This year, the components of the economic freedom index were increased from 10 to 12 and evaluated separately.

Among the 12 sub-indexes, Taiwan showed improvement in the areas of property rights, government integrity, government spending, business freedom, labor freedom, and monetary freedom.

The country's performance was unchanged in the area of financial freedom and it slipped in terms of tax burden, trade freedom, and investment freedom.

According to the Heritage Foundation report, Taiwan's private sector has benefited from a relatively well-developed commercial code and open-market policies that facilitate the free flow of goods and capital.

However, this also indicates that the level of state involvement in the export-oriented economy remains considerable, the report said, adding that privatization and market liberalization are ongoing, but progress has been slow and uneven.

The report noted that the average applied tariff rate in Taiwan is 1.9 percent, and some agricultural imports are facing additional barriers.

Although institutional and economic fundamentals are in place in Taiwan, further reforms to increase competition and openness will be critical to sustaining the momentum for growth, the report said.

Commenting on the rankings, the National Development Council noted Thursday that Taiwan achieved the greatest progress in the area of property rights with a score 86.5 points, 16.5 points higher than last year, to climb two notches to 13th place.

That was a result of the government's institution of a management system for land expropriation and a draft law on national land planning to better protect indigenous peoples' lands, the council said.

It said the government will continue to improve its business law, promote market openness and facilitate market competition to maintain the momentum for Taiwan's economic growth and reform.

(By Chen Cheng-wei, Rita Cheng and Evelyn Kao)
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