Taiwan has 31st most powerful passport in world, China 72nd

Taiwan has 7th most powerful passport in Asia Pacific with visa-free access to 145 countries

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(CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The latest passport index by British consulting firm Henley & Partners ranked Taiwan as having the 31st most powerful passport in the world in terms of countries that provide passport holders visa-free access.

The Henley Passport Index ranks countries based on the number of destinations their passport holders can access without a prior visa. The company says that it derives its data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA), which the firm claims "maintains the world’s largest and most accurate database of travel information."

In the firm's 2019 listing, Taiwan ranks 31st in the world with access to 145 countries, a slight drop from its position in 29th place in 2018. Since the index began in 2006, Taiwan has been ranked as low as 69th in 2010 and as high as 24th in 2014.

The U.S. came in at 6th place, it's worst ranking since 2010 and a significant drop from its 1st place position in 2014. The UK, which is facing major Brexit issues, is tied with the U.S. in 6th.

The country that rose the most over the previous listing was the United Arab Emirates at 15th. This represents a leap of 5 positions over the previous year.

In the Asia-Pacific region, Taiwan ranks 7th, behind only Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Malaysia, Hong Kong, and Brunei. In the world, Japan took the top spot with visa-exempt access to 190 countries, followed by Singapore, South Korea, Germany, and Finland rounding out the top five.

China, on the other hand, trailed far behind at a lowly 72nd, one slot behind Malawi. Only 71 countries offer Chinese passport holders visa-free access, less than half the number of countries that Taiwanese are exempt for.