Which country do you think was ranked the world’s freest?
Hong Kong, of course.
This makes the 17th year in a row it has claimed the priced as the freest country in the world.
Hong Kong remained the world’s freest place to do business for the 17th year in a row in an annual US league table published Wednesday.
The United States lost ground and mainland China came 135th in the table compiled by The Heritage Foundation, a conservative Washington-based think tank, and The Wall Street Journal.
Hong Kong, a former British colony which was returned to China in 1997, edged out regional rival Singapore to claim top spot in the 2011 Index of Economic Freedom.
After Hong Kong and Singapore, Australia and New Zealand took third and fourth spots respectively.
Switzerland, Canada, Ireland, Denmark, the United States and Bahrain rounded out the top ten, which is based on criteria including economic openness, trade, the efficiency of domestic regulators, and the rule of law.
Mainland China was ranked 135 in the list of 179 economies, with Cuba, Zimbabwe and North Korea rounding out the bottom of the list.
“While the global average score for the 2011 Index has improved since last year, progress has not been uniform across the regions”, the report said.
“Sub-Saharan Africa achieved the largest score improvement”, it said, adding that “economic freedom held steady in Europe and actually declined in North America.”
The US fell outside the top six deemed to have an entirely free economy as North America recorded “drops in fiscal freedom and government spending, which now trail the world averages”, the report said.