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The economies presided over by Iranian President Khatami and Turkmen President Niyazov are both considered "repressed" (file photo) (RFE/RL)
4 January 2006 -- An influential right-wing U.S. thinktank has again rated Hong Kong and Singapore the world's freest economies.
The findings come in the annual "Index of Economic Freedom" survey issued today by the conservative Heritage Foundation.
The index ranks nearly 160 countries according to factors such as tax rates, the protection of property rights, and the level of government intervention in the economy.
At the bottom of the rankings are Iran and North Korea, with two former Soviet states -- Turkmenistan and Belarus -- also rated as "repressed."
Among other former Soviet countries, Kyrgyzstan, Georgia, and Armenia are rated "mostly free," while Ukraine, Russia, Azerbaijan, and much of Central Asia are "mostly unfree."
An exhibition of the history of the WTO in Singapore in 1996 (courtesy photo)
Armenia: Joined on 5 February 2003.
Croatia: Joined on 30 November 2000.
Georgia: Joined on 14 June 2000.
Kyrgyzstan: Joined on 20 December 1998.
Macedonia: Joined on 4 April 2003.
Moldova: Joined on 26 July 2001.
Romania: Joined on 1 January 1995.
Countries That Are Not Yet WTO Members:
Afghanistan: Submitted its application in November 2004.
Azerbaijan: Submitted its application in June 1997.
Bosnia-Herezgovina: Submitted its application in May 1999.
Belarus: Submitted its application in September 1993.
Iran: Submitted its application in July 1996.
Iraq: Submitted its application in September 2004.
Kazakhstan: Submitted its application in January 1996.
Russia: Submitted its application in June 1993.
Serbia and Montenegro: Submitted separate applications in December 2004.
Tajikistan: Submitted its application in May 2001.
Ukraine: Submitted its application in November 1993.
Uzbekistan: Submitted its application in December 1994.
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For an exclusive RFE/RL interview with former WTO head MICHAEL MOORE,click here.