New Delhi, January 16 : Hong Kong has retained its title of the world's freest economy for the 14th consecutive year in the Heritage Foundation's 2008 Index of Economic Freedom study.
The study report suggests that Hong Kong has been performing exceptionally well in almost all areas of economic freedom.
Of the 10 individual areas assessed, Hong Kong was found to be number one in trade freedom, investment freedom, financial freedom and property rights.
Hong Kong also made to the top 10 list in another four areas, viz., fiscal freedom, government size, monetary freedom, and labour freedom.
The report suggested that income and corporate tax rates in Hong Kong were very competitive, and that overall taxation there was relatively small as a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP).
It also showed that business regulations in Hong Kong were simple, and the labour market was highly flexible there.
Investment in Hong Kong was strongly encouraged with virtually no restrictions on foreign capital, the report adds.
The Heritage Foundation has praised Hong Kong for being one of the world's leading financial centres, where regulations of banking and financial services are both intrusive and transparent.
The report also shows that an independent and virtually corruption-free judiciary protects property rights in Hong Kong.
It also shows that Hong Kong fares better than Singapore in respect of trade freedom, fiscal freedom, investment freedom and financial freedom.
However, Singapore fares better in business freedom, government size, monetary freedom, freedom from corruption and labour freedom.
Both Hong Kong and Singapore shared the first rank in property rights.
"We are determined to uphold Hong Kong's position as the freest economy in the world," the China Daily quoted Hong Kong Financial Secretary John C Tsang as telling Xinhua, while welcoming the study report.
"We see the role of the HKSAR (Hong Kong Special Administrative Region) government as that of 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," Tsang said.