Taiwan climbs to record 11th in Economic Freedom Index

“The overall freedom to conduct business is relatively well protected under the transparent regulatory environment.”

Image courtesy of flickr user Dave Wilson

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) - Taiwan has climbed to its highest level in world rankings of economic freedom, according to an annual index released Wednesday by a leading Washington-based think tank, the Heritage Foundation.

Now in its 23rd year, the Economic Freedom Index measures the impact of liberty and free markets around the globe based on 12 quantitative and qualitative factors grouped into four broad categories, including rule of law, government size, regulatory efficiency, and open markets.

In this year’s index, Taiwan jumped three places from 14 to 11 with an overall score of 76.5 out of 100, surpassing the United States in the ranking, which ranked 11th in 2016 and slipped to 17th this year.

The top five countries in the index for this year were Hong Kong, Singapore, New Zealand, Switzerland and Australia.  

The index has ranked Taiwan as the 11th-freest economy in the world, and 5th in the Asia-Pacific region, keeping it in the category of “mostly free.”

Among the 12 factors measured in the index, Taiwan scored high (above 80) in six of them, and performed best in business freedom, government spending, and property rights.

“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,” the report said.

“The overall freedom to conduct business is relatively well protected under the transparent regulatory environment.”

However, the report also pointed out that Taiwan’s regulations on work hours are not flexible, which reflects in the labor freedom component with a lower-than-average score of 55.

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