YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–According to the data published by the American Research Center "Heritage Foundation (HF)," in 2001–out of 155 countries from all over the world–Armenia ranked 45th for its liberal economy and is the only CIS country that qualified as "mostly free." Armenia’shares this place with seven other countries–including France and Poland.
The Heritage Foundation provides the "index of economy support" estimation annually on the basis of 10 different standards. According to points (the more points a country gets–the lower the degree of liberalization is) countries are divided into 4 groups: free–mostly free–mostly unfree–and repressed.
Armenia jumped 23 points from last year–moving from the 68th to 45th place–surpassing all neighboring countries: Georgia ranked 108th (114th in 2000)–Azerbaijan ranked 118th (139th in 2000–it is considered to be the country where the most improvement was registered)–Russia ranked 131st place (127th). Turkey–being among the "mostly free" countries (63rd) last year–was called "mostly unfree"–rolling back to the 105th place this year. Greece is also considered to be "mostly free" and was ranked 55th place.
Fourteen countries were declared free. Estonia (4th place) is the only former Soviet republic among them.
The 10 standards used to estimate the openness of a country’s economy include the degree of tax burden–government interference in economic affairs–foreign trade–ownership right protection–and the black market. The black market in Armenia was assessed as high–ownership right protection was assessed as moderate–government interference as moderate–and foreign trade had an extremely low level of protectionism.