US group congratulates Georgia on “spectacular” gains in economic freedom, denounces Iran and Turkmenistan


Georgia ranked 12th in the Heritage Foundation’s Global Economic Freedom Index for 2020, continuing what the Washington-based conservative think tank called its “dramatic” rise among the “mostly free” economies of the United States. world.

Armenia and Bulgaria were also classified as “mostly free” in the report published on March 17, ranking 34th and 36th respectively.

The harshest language was directed against Iran and Turkmenistan, which ranked near the bottom in the “suppressed” category.

The Heritage Foundation – which looked at the rule of law, size of government, effective regulation and open markets – said the average economic freedom score for the current report was the highest on record in 26 years of index history.

The report says Georgia, which ranks sixth out of 45 European countries, has increased its ranking with “notable improvements on all rule of law indicators”.

“The Georgian economy continues its spectacular seven-year advance in the ranks of the ‘largely free’,” he said, adding that the gross domestic product (GDP) of the South Caucasus country “has also increased at a steady rate in the past. five years. “

The report also praised Tbilisi’s efforts to reduce corruption, reduce regulations and simplify taxes.

“Ranking in the top 10 will require even more intensive efforts to improve perceptions of government integrity and judicial efficiency. A good first step in avoiding controversies over judicial appointments would be legislative action to protect the independence of justice “, he declared.

In neighboring Armenia, Heritage said that “economic freedom has remained fairly constant” over the past 15 years, “the economy oscillating between” moderately free “and” mainly free “.

“GDP growth over the past two years has been particularly robust as the economy rebounded from a regional slowdown in 2015-16. The government is pursuing structural reforms, export promotion and increased foreign investment to stimulate future economic growth, ”according to the report. .

“To attract more investment and finally break out of its waiting pattern to move higher in the ‘mostly free’ category, Armenia will need to focus more on improving judicial efficiency and integrity of government, ”he said.

Russia, which placed 94th, moved into the “moderately free” category for the first time, helped by what Heritage called a higher “fiscal health” score.

“The Russian economy is ranked ‘moderately free’ for the first time this year after more than a decade in the ranks of the ‘mostly non-free’. GDP growth has been weak over the past five years, plagued by structural weaknesses, low levels of investment and a poor demographic outlook, but improved in 2018, “the report said.

He also criticized Moscow for pursuing “statist, nationalist and protectionist economic policies”.

“A subjugated justice system, widespread corruption and links between bureaucrats and organized criminal groups undermine the integrity of the government,” making it difficult for the country to transition to the “predominantly free” group, he added.

With the broadcast area of ​​RFE / RL, Romania (38th place), Kazakhstan (39), North Macedonia (41), Azerbaijan (44), Serbia (65), Kyrgyzstan (81), Bosnia and Herzegovina (82), Moldova (87), Belarus (88) and Montenegro (91) were also labeled “moderately free”.

Among the “mostly not free” were Uzbekistan (114), Ukraine (134), Pakistan (135), Afghanistan (136) and Tajikistan (155).

Near the bottom, in the “repressed” category, were Iran (164) and Turkmenistan (170).

Regarding Iran, the report states that “powerful interest groups, mainly linked to security and religious institutions, are opposed to further economic liberalization and re-engagement in the global economy.”

“Given Iran’s over-reliance on the oil sector, sustainable economic growth will remain a long-term goal rather than a short-term possibility,” he said.

Heritage described Turkmenistan, led by President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov, as “a repressive authoritarian state in which political rights and civil liberties are almost completely denied in practice.”

“Economic freedom is not achievable in a significant sense as the ruling regime is currently constituted,” the report said.

Singapore, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Australia, Switzerland and Ireland were ranked first through sixth and were the only countries to be considered “free” economies.

Britain placed seventh, while the United States was 17th and China 103rd.

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