TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan ranked sixth in economic freedom and was rated as "Free" for the first time in the Heritage Foundation's global economic freedom index.
In the American conservative think tank's latest report titled the 2022 Index of Economic Freedom, Taiwan ranked 6th in economic freedom out of 184 economies with an overall score of 80.1, an improvement of 1.5 points from last year. Among the 39 countries in the Asia-Pacific region, Taiwan is ranked third.
The report pointed out that Taiwan was one of the few countries in the world to experience continuous economic growth over the past five years. The think tank asserted that the country's economic freedom has also increased during this period due to high scores across all categories and was boosted by improvements in judicial effectiveness and labor freedom.
Taiwan scored over 80 in seven out of the 12 categories, and surpassed 90 in judicial effectiveness (94.2) and government spending (90.7). It had relatively lower scores for labor freedom (68.7) and financial freedom (60).
For the first time, Taiwan was placed in the "Free" category thanks to a 3.6-point overall gain in economic freedom since 2017. The report suggested that improvements in Taiwan's business freedom and financial freedom scores would boost Taiwan's ranking even higher in the future.
Taiwan is one of only seven countries rated as "Free," with Singapore in the top spot, followed by Switzerland, Ireland, New Zealand, Luxembourg, Taiwan, and Estonia. The other categories are "Mostly Free," "Moderately Free," Mostly Unfree," and "Repressed." North Korea is at the bottom of the rankings with a score of 3.0.
China, on the other hand, came in 158th place in economic freedom with a score of 48, falling 10.4 points from the previous year. The communist country ranks 35th in the Asia-Pacific region.
According to the report, China's economic freedom peaked in 2020, but it has deteriorated over the past two years due to plunging scores for judicial effectiveness and fiscal health. The report downgraded China into the "Repressed" category citing lack of investment freedom and financial freedom as "serious impediments to productivity growth and development."