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Hong Kong remains freest society and economy

More than 20 years after cutting ties with the U.K., Hong Kong has maintained its economic vitality, even as concerns swirl about the health of China, according to free market think tank Fraser Institute.

The institute's annual Economic Freedom of the World report showed Hong Kong topping the list of the world's most free economies, with Singapore, New Zealand, Switzerland and Canada rounding out the top five. However, America mired in the 16th spot for the second consecutive year, the institute noted.

"Economic freedom leads to prosperity and a higher quality of life, while the lowestranked countries are usually burdened by oppressive regimes that limit the freedom and opportunity of their citizens," said the report's authors, Fred McMahon and Michael Walker, in a statement.

Hong Kong has also been ranked the world’s most competitive economy by a Swiss institute. The World Competitiveness Yearbook 2016 released by Switzerland’s International Institute for Management Development (IMD) on Monday saw Hong Kong rise from second place last year to first place. It was followed by Switzerland, the US and Singapore.

Financial Secretary John Tsang said in a statement on Tuesday that he was delighted by the ranking.

“In light of the fierce competition in the global arena, we will strive to uphold our prevailing competitive edge and continue to search for new growth areas, so as to strengthen our position as an international financial, trading and business centre and enhance Hong Kong’s long-term competitiveness,” he said.

What's more, Hong Kong has reaffirmed its No 1 status as the freest jurisdiction in the world. The city again topped the global Human Freedom Index survey, beating off Switzerland, New Zealand, Ireland and Denmark. The index measures 76 indicators of personal, civil and economic freedoms, in 156 countries and jurisdictions.

However, Beijing’s increased involvement in the city’s affairs puts that top ranking in danger, the Fraser Institute of Canada has warned.

“While the freedom index doesn’t measure democracy, democracy remains the best safeguard of personal freedoms, so if China encroaches on its ‘one country, two systems’ relationship with Hong Kong, we can expect Hong Kong’s ranking to drop,” said Fred McMahon, the Dr Michael A. Walker Research Chair in Economic Freedom at the Fraser Institute and editor of the study.

Deloitte believes that Hong Kong, which is a long-established financial center, ranks highly on the GFCI yet lower than that of London, Singapore, and New York. Although higher than London and New York in terms of DB, Hong Kong has the lowest GII among the five cities.

Last Updated (Sunday, 04 December 2016 06:30)

 

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