By Kuan-lin Liu and Chu Tse-wei
Taipei (CNA) ─ Taiwan was listed 13th in the 2018 global rankings for economic freedom, a fall of two places from last year due mainly to a lower score in investment freedom, according to the U.S. Heritage Foundation, which released the index Friday.
A year after Taiwan achieved its highest ranking of 11th on the index, which was first compiled in 1995, it fell to 13th in the latest rankings, with declines in property rights, business freedom, labor freedom, onetary freedom and investment freedom.
Meanwhile, Taiwan recorded improvements in overnment integrity, judicial effectiveness, government spending, tax burden and fiscal health, with its performance in trade freedom and financial freedom unchanged.
A drop of 5 points in investment freedom and a rise of 7.1 points in fiscal health canceled each other out to give Taiwan an overall economic freedom score of 76.6, which is 0.1 points higher than its 2017 score, the Heritage Foundation report noted.
Overall, the report found that in Taiwan, “a relatively well-developed commercial code and open-market policies that facilitate the flow of goods and capital have enabled small and medium-size enterprises to become the backbone of Taiwan’s expansion.”
Taiwan ranked 5th among the 43 countries in the Asia Pacific, with an overall score that is above the regional average of 61.0 and the global average of 61.1. However, the Heritage Foundation recommended that the country “make more reforms to increase competition and openness” in order to reduce its reliance on China and increase trade with other Asian countries.
The National Development Council released a press statement in response to the ranking saying it will continue to monitor the freeing up of Taiwan’s financial sector as the government makes headway with its initiative to eliminate barriers to foreign investment in the country.
The top six countries and territories in descending order were Hong Kong, Singapore, New Zealand, Switzerland, Australia and Ireland. The results of the 2018 index are based on data from each country between July 2016 and June 2017.
Here’s the Index list of the Most Free and Least Free:
- The Most Free
1. Hong Kong
3. New Zealand
8. United Kingdom
10. United Arab Emirates
- The Least Free
180. North Korea
177. Rep. of Congo
175. Equatorial Guinea