Hong Kong the freest economy in the world but with caveat

The Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Mr Edward Yau (left), meets with the Deputy United States (US) Trade Representative for Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and Industrial Competitiveness, Mr Jeffrey Gerrish (right), in Washington, DC

The Hong Kong Government today welcomed the Fraser’s Institute’s ranking of Hong Kong as the freest economy in the world.

“The hard-earned results vividly reflect Hong Kong’s steadfast commitment to building a free economy with a level playing field,” a government spokesman said.

“The Government will continue to build a robust institutional framework, uphold the fine tradition of rule of law and maintain an efficient government, so as to provide a level playing field. This should provide a favourable environment for our economy to thrive,” the spokesman said.

However, the Government was less than pleased with the Institute’s suggestion that Hong Kong was running the risk of losing its top post in the future.

In a press release issued by the Fraser Instititute Fred McMahon, Dr Michael A. Walker Research Chair in Economic Freedom with the organisation said: “While Hong Kong is still the most economically free, there is a valid concern that interference from mainland China—which ranks 108th in economic freedom—will ultimately lead to deterioration in Hong Kong’s top position, particularly in rule of law, which helps ensure equal freedom for all,” said

A spokesperson for the Hong Kong Government was quick to refute the charge.

“The Fraser Institute states that there is a concern about the rule of law in Hong Kong, on which we do not agree. We must point out that there are no objective facts showing that the rule of law or judicial independence in Hong Kong has been subject to any interference.

“Judicial independence is the bedrock of Hong Kong’s economic freedoms and is protected by the Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. The court system in Hong Kong is as transparent as ever and justice is impartial in Hong Kong. Hearings are generally held in open court and the media are free to report on proceedings while reasoned judgments are accessible on the Judiciary’s website.

“The rule of law, including judicial independence, is alive and well in Hong Kong. Judicial independence is pivotal to Hong Kong’s continuous success as the world’s freest economy. We have faith in the rule of law and judicial independence in Hong Kong, and will strive to enhance the proper understanding of the international community in this respect through different channels,” the spokesman added.

Coinciding with the release of the Fraser Institute report, Hong Kong’s Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Mr Edward Yau, was attending meetings in Washington, DC where he took the opportunity to further emphasise Hong Kong’s free economy credentials.

“Hong Kong has long been and will continue to be an open market, founded upon strong rule of law, civil liberties and government transparency. Furthermore, Hong Kong is a staunch supporter of free trade and will continue to defend the multilateral trading system in the interests of global economic growth,” he said.

Mr Yau said that Hong Kong has always been a strong and important trade partner of the US. “American businesses can capitalise on Hong Kong’s strengths as an open market, a springboard to Asia and as a partner for innovation for exploring markets,” he added.

 

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