Hong Kong Remains World's 'Freest' Economy

By John S. McClenahen In each of the nine years that the self-described Index of Economic Freedom has been published, the economies surveyed have become freer. But despite this special kind of continuous improvement, more of the world's economies are unfree than free, according to the 2003 ranking of 156 economies by the Heritage Foundation, a conservative Washington, D.C., think tank and the Wall Street Journal. Topped by Hong Kong, 71 economies are rated as "free" or "mostly free," while 85 economies are listed as "mostly unfree" or "repressed." Rankings are based on 10 factors, ranging from nontariff trade barriers and tax rates to regulatory burdens and black-market activity. In addition to Hong Kong, the 10 economies rated most free are Singapore, Luxembourg, New Zealand, Ireland, Denmark, Estonia, the United States, Australia, and the United Kingdom. The economies rated least free are North Korea, Cuba, Zimbabwe, Laos, Libya, Belarus, Yugoslavia, Uzbekistan, Burma (Myanmar) and Turkmenistan.

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