ANCA Welcomes Continued Improvement in Armenia’s Economic Freedom Ranking

WASHINGTON–DC–The Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA)–in letters sent Monday to Members of Congress–Administration officials–think tanks–the media–and the broader Washington–DC foreign policy community–welcomed Armenia’s ranking as the world’s 27th most economically free nation–according to a study released last week by the Wall Street Journal and the Heritage Foundation.

The 2006 Index of Economic Freedom measured 157 countries across 50 independent variables divided into 10 broad factors of economic freedom–including property rights protection–regulatory environment–tax rates–fiscal policy–government intervention in the economy–monetary policy–black markets–and trade policy. Each country falls into one of four categories: "free,"mostly free,"mostly unfree" and "repressed." Lower scores on the Index’s five-point scale are more desirable.

With a rating of 2.26–Armenia was described as "mostly free" in the survey–and was one of the five most-improved economies over the past year. At 27th place–Armenia rated higher than Norway–Israel–and France. In the 2005 study–Armenia rated 2.58 and was ranked 42nd overall.

Among Armenia’s neighbors–Georgia ranked 68th with a rating of 2.98; Turkey ranked 85th–with a rating of 3.11; Iran ranked 156–with a rating of 4.51; and Azerbaijan ranked 123rd–with a rating of 3.51. While the majority of countries improved their scores in 2006–Azerbaijan’s rating fell from 3.43 to 3.51–and its ranking dropped from 103rd to 123rd.

"We are–as Armenian Americans–tremendously gratified to see Armenia’s rise to 27th place–firmly among the top tier of economically free nations," said Aram Hamparian–Executive Director of the ANCA. "We look forward to even greater progress and more broad-based prosperity in the future–as US-Armenia economic relations continue to expand and new initiatives–such as the California-Armenia Trade Office and the Virginia Governor’s Armenia Advisory Commission–begin to bear fruit."

Armenia’s ratings in each of the ten factors covered by the Index are provided below: (Lower scores are more desirable)

Trade Policy: 2.0

Fiscal Burden: 2.1

Government Intervention: 2.0

Monetary Policy: 2.0

Foreign Investment: 1.0

Banking and Finance: 1.0

Wages and Prices: 2.0

Property Rights: 3.0

Regulation: 4.0

Informal Market: 3.5

Armenia has made steady progress on economic freedom over the past eleven years: 2006:2.26–2005:2.58–2004:2.63–2003:2.59–2002:2.78–2001:3.03–2000:3.21–1999:3.50–1998:3.50–1997:3.50–1996:3.69

For additional information about the Wall Street Journal-Heritage Foundation Index of Economic Freedom–visit: www.heritage.org/research/features/index/country.cfm?id=Armenia

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