Hong Kong remains the world's freest economy according to the findings of the Economic Freedom of the World: 2012 Annual Report. The report is co-published by the Cato Institute, Canada's Fraser Institute and think tanks around the world. Hong Kong tops the ranking of 144 countries and economies. According to the report, Hong Kong offers the highest level of economic freedom worldwide, with a score of 8.90 out of 10, followed by Singapore (8.69), New Zealand (8.36), and Switzerland (8.24). Welcoming the report's ranking, Donald Tong, Hong Kong Commissioner, USA, remarked that it was essential for an externally-oriented economy such as Hong Kong's to remain devoted to free-market philosophy. "With persistent uncertainties in the global economy, it has been imperative for Hong Kong to adhere to free trade, open markets, low taxes and prudent fiscal policies," said Commissioner Tong. "Hong Kong's commitment to free-market principles, as well as the rule of law, has facilitated our emergence as a leading international financial, trade and logistics center." "I am pleased that the Cato Institute, in conjunction with other prominent research institutions, has once again acknowledged Hong Kong's commitment to these core values." The index published in the Economic Freedom of the World: 2012 Annual Report measures the degree to which the policies and institutions of economies are supportive of economic freedom. The report uses 42 different measures to create an index ranking economies around the world based on policies that encourage economic freedom. Economic freedom is measured in the following five broad categories: (1) size of government; (2) legal structure and security of property rights; (3) access to sound money; (4) freedom to trade internationally; and (5) regulation of credit, labor and business. About the Economic Freedom Index The first Economic Freedom of the World Report, published in 1996, was the result of a decade of research by a team which included several Nobel Laureates and over 60 other leading scholars in a broad range of fields, from economics to political science, and from law to philosophy. This is the 16th edition of the Economic Freedom of the World Report. This year's publication ranks 144 economies for 2010, the most recent year for which data are available. The annual report is published in conjunction with the Economic Freedom Network, a group of independent research and educational institutes in 90 nations and territories worldwide. The 2012 report was prepared by James Gwartney, Florida State University; Robert A. Lawson, Southern Methodist University; and Joshua Hall, Beloit College. Source: SOURCE Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office Link: http://www.sacbee.com/2012/09/19/4835563/hong-kong-remains-worlds-freest.html
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