Taiwan was ranked 20th in the 2013 Index of Economic Freedom released Jan. 10 by Washington-based think tank The Heritage Foundation and The Wall Street Journal.
The country’s score of 72.7, 0.8 higher than that of 2012, rose on the strength of improving labor and business freedoms, as well as freedom from corruption, according to the survey. Among the 41 economies in the Asia-Pacific region, Taiwan was fifth, ahead of Japan and South Korea at 24th and 34th, respectively.
Hong Kong and Singapore finished first and second on the list for the 18th consecutive year, while Australia, New Zealand and Switzerland came in at third, fourth and fifth in that order.
“Taiwan has recorded uninterrupted advancements in economic freedom since 2009,” the report said, adding that the private sector benefits from a well-developed commercial code and open-market policies facilitating the free flow of capital and goods.
A sound legal framework is in place to provide strong protection of property rights and uphold the rule of law. However, “corruption and a rigid labor market continue to hold back the country’s overall economic freedom, although there have been improvements in these two areas,” the report said.
These assessments reflect Taiwan’s performances in the 10 benchmarks used to compile index rankings. The country was rated sixth and 13th in business freedom and monetary freedom, respectively, but its score of 53.3 for labor freedom was below the global average of 60.6 and ranked 121st in the world.
Beginning in 1995, the annual index tracks the march of economic freedom in 177 markets worldwide spanning limited government, open markets, regulatory efficiency and rule of law.