For the 15th consecutive year, Hong Kong has been ranked as the world's freest economy in the 2009 Index of Economic Freedom, jointly published by The Heritage Foundation and The Wall Street Journal.
Following the index's release in Hong Kong, Financial Secretary John C. Tsang said the Hong Kong government would continue its role as a facilitator. "We provide a business-friendly environment where all firms can compete on a level playing field and establish an appropriate regulatory regime to ensure the integrity and smooth functioning of a free market," said Tsang.
According to the findings, Hong Kong scores 90 on the 100-point scale—0.3 point better than last year and above the world average score of 59.5.
Singapore retained the second-place position, followed by Australia, Ireland, New Zealand and the United States.
Hong Kong Commissioner to the United States, Donald Tong, welcomed the index's findings, saying: "I am happy to learn that once again Hong Kong's commitments to free market principles and sound economic policy have been recognized. Our devotion to free trade and the rule of law, coupled with Hong Kong peoples' vibrant entrepreneurial spirit, have allowed Hong Kong to prosper and emerge as one of the world's leading financial and banking centers."
In its summary report on Hong Kong, the index found that Hong Kong's tax rates are highly competitive, business regulation was straightforward, the labor market remains flexible and property rights are protected by an "independent and corruption-free judiciary."
The 2009 Index of Economic Freedom measures the degree of economic freedom of 179 economies across the following 10 specific factors: business freedom, trade freedom, fiscal freedom, government size, monetary freedom, investment freedom, financial freedom, property rights, freedom from corruption and labor freedom.