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Estonia climbs to place 6 in Heritage and WSJ economic freedom index

BC, Tallinn, 15.02.2017.Print version
Estonia climbed from ninth to sixth place on the Heritage Foundation and Wall Street Journal (WSJ) 2017 index of economic freedom published on Wednesday writes LETA/BNS.

The top five countries in the index for 2017 were Hong Kong, Singapore, New Zealand, Switzerland and Australia. Estonia was in second place among European countries after Switzerland. Lithuania dropped from 13th to 16th place, whereas Latvia jumped from 47th to 20th.

All the three Baltic countries are tanked as "mostly free" in terms of economic freedom, alongside Canada, Ireland, the United States, the UK, Sweden, Germany, Japan and Israel.

Estonia's score of economic freedom was 79.1 points, Lithuania's score 75.8 points and the score of Latvia 74.8 points.

"Estonia's economy continues to benefit from government policies that sustain a high level of economic freedom. The rule of law remains strongly buttressed and enforced by an independent and efficient judicial system. A simplified tax system with flat rates and low indirect taxation, openness to foreign investment, and a liberal trade regime have supported the resilient and well-functioning economy," the report said.

"Prudent and sound management of public finance has been notable. In particular, revitalized efforts to move even further toward limited government and ensure long-term fiscal sustainability have helped to sustain economic vitality. Fiscal adjustments have brought down budget deficits and kept levels of public debt among the lowest in the world," it added.

The index measures economic freedom based on 12 quantitative and qualitative factors, grouped into four broad categories, or rule of law, government size, regulatory efficiency, and open markets. Each of the ten economic freedoms within these categories is graded on a scale of 0 to 100, and a country's overall score is derived by averaging these ten economic freedoms, with equal weight being given to each.

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