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Philippines rises six notches in global economic freedom index

Jose Katigbak (The Philippine Star) - February 1, 2016 - 9:00am

WASHINGTON – The Philippines improved its standing and scored higher than ever before in the latest global economic freedom rankings, making its economy the 70th freest in the world.

In the 2016 Index of Economic Freedom World Rankings released by the Washington-based think tank Heritage Foundation, the country’s score rose to 63.1 points out of a possible 100 and was deemed to be “moderately free.”

Last year the Philippines was in 76th place in the index with a score of 62.2 points.

The report lauded the successes of the Philippines in monetary freedom and management of public finance and noted progress made to enhance the entrepreneurial environment and develop a more vibrant private sector.

But it expressed concern about the rule of law and labor freedom in the country and said poor infrastructure remained a serious impediment to economic growth.

Industrial production in areas like electronics, apparel and shipbuilding has been growing rapidly and the time involved in dealing with licensing requirements has been notably reduced and the cost of completing them has been cut, the report said.

The financial sector remains relatively stable and sound.

Hong Kong topped the 178 economies ranked in the 2016 Index with a score of 88.6 points, followed in order by Singapore, New Zealand, Switzerland and Australia. They were the only countries rated as “free” with scores above 80 points.

The next 33 countries, with scores between 70 and 80, were considered “mostly free” and included the United States in 11th place with a score of 75.4 points.

The Philippines was among 54 countries (with scores of 60-70) in the “moderately free” category. Regionally it ranked 14th out of 42 countries in the Asia-Pacific region.

China was in 144th place with a score of 52 points. It was among 62 countries (with scores of 50-60) rated “mostly unfree.”

The index report, an annual guide published by the Heritage Foundation, rates countries in 10 categories – trade, business, labor and fiscal freedoms, monetary, financial and investment freedoms, government spending, property rights and freedom from corruption – and the results are averaged to create an overall score.

Twenty-four countries were deemed to have “repressed freedom” and included Laos, Myanmar and Argentina.

North Korea was at the bottom of the list in 178th place with a score of 2.3 points.

ACIRC COUNTRIES HERITAGE FOUNDATION HONG KONG INDEX OF ECONOMIC FREEDOM WORLD RANKINGS MYANMAR AND ARGENTINA NEW ZEALAND NORTH KOREA POINTS SCORE SWITZERLAND AND AUSTRALIA
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