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HK world's freest economy for 10th consecutive year
( 2004-01-09 21:21) (Xinhua)

Hong Kong was ranked the freest economy in the world for the 10th consecutive year in the "2004  Index of Economic Freedom" released by the Heritage Foundation and the Wall Street Journal Friday.

Hong Kong's strengths as cited by the report are duty-free port, very low level of government involvement in business activities,  very low inflation, very low barriers to foreign investment, very  low level of restrictions in banking and finance, low level of  intervention in wages and prices, strong property rights, very low level of regulation, and low level of informal market activity.

Financial Secretary of the Hong Kong Special Administrative  Region (HKSAR) government Henry Tang said he was pleased to see  that Hong Kong remained the freest economy in the world.

He said the HKSAR government was firmly committed to  maintaining Hong Kong as a free market economy that accords  maximum scope to the private sector.

 "We see the role of the government as that of a facilitator  that provides a business-friendly environment where all firms can  compete on a level-playing field," Tang said.

He said the government will also maintain an appropriate  regulatory regime to ensure the integrity and smooth functioning  of a free market.

In the annually published index, Singapore and New Zealand were ranked the second and third freest economies respectively.

The Heritage Foundation, a Washington-based think tank, began  to co-publish the index with the editorial page of the Wall Street Journal in 1995.

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