Oct 1, 2008

YEREVAN, October 1. /ARKA/. Armenia ranks the 67th among 141 countries
in ratings of Economic Freedom of the World 2008 published by Cato

Armenia got 6.83 on 10-point scale, Washington ProFile international
news agency reports referring to the results of the study.

The ratings of other CIS countries are as follows: Estonia (11th,
7.89 points), Lithuania (31 and 7.40 respectively), Georgia (39 and
7.29), Latvia (40 and 7.27), Kazakhstan (42 and 7.23), Kyrgyzstan (60
and 6.96), Moldova (78 and 6.51), Azerbaijan (118 and 5.73), Ukraine
(121 and 5.64). Belarus, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan have
not been covered in the study.

The first ten most free in terms of economy countries are Hong Kong
(special administrative region of China - 8.94 points), Singapore,
New Zealand, Switzerland, Great Britain, Chili, Canada, USA (8.04
points each), Australia and Ireland (7.92 each).

Ratings of other major world economies are as follows: Germany -
17th (7.64 points), Japan - 27th , France - 45th, Italy - 49th,
Mexico - 58th, India - 77th, China - 93rd, Brazil - 96th, Russia -
101st (6.12 points).

The worst situation has been recorded in Zimbabwe (141st, 2.67 points),
Angola, Myanmar (Burma), Congo and Niger. Eight out of ten countries
with the lowest level of economic freedo m are in Africa (apart from
Myanmar and Venezuela).

The USA has appeared among the countries where the steepest reduction
in economic freedom level was recorded (Zimbabwe, Argentina, Niger,
Venezuela and Guiana). In 2000 the USA was the second in terms of
economic freedom after Hong Kong.

A record high progress in economic freedom was achieved in Ghana,
Uganda, Israel, Peru and Jamaica.

Five main criteria have been assessed during the study - first,
government dimensions (i.e. number of public servants not involved in
economic process directly, share of government involvement in economy,
volume of government investments, and etc.); second, protection of
property rights; third, accessibility of monetary funds (inflation
rates, accessibility of currency account control, and etc.); fourth,
level of freedom of international trade and fifth, level of business,
labor market and loan market regulation.

The ratings' authors mention that the highest annual economic growth
rates are recorded in countries of the first ¼ of the ratings list -
2.31% against 0.50% in countries of the last forth of the ratings. More
economic freedom goes together with higher life expectancy (79
against 58 years), greater political rights and personal freedoms,
the report says.