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Swiss economy ranks as one of the freest

Switzerland's economy is one of the ten freest in the world, according to a conservative think tank based in the United States.

The Heritage Foundation, a public policy research institute that champions free enterprise and limited government, said Switzerland's policies towards trade, business, investment and property rights had created the ninth-freest economy on the globe.

"The highest form of economic freedom provides an absolute right of property ownership, fully realised freedoms of movement for labour, capital and goods," the foundation wrote.

"In other words, individuals are free to work, produce, consume and invest in any way they please, and that freedom is both protected by the state and unconstrained by the state."

Switzerland scored 79.4 out of 100 on the 2009 Index of Economic Freedom, down 0.1 points from last year's ranking. The report noted that Switzerland excelled in property rights and freedom from corruption but that its government was getting too big.

The top slot went to Hong Kong for the 15th consecutive year with 90 points, followed by Singapore, Australia, Ireland and New Zealand. North Korea came last among the 183 countries with two points, just below Zimbabwe, Cuba, Myanmar and Eritrea.

Afghanistan, Iraq, Liechtenstein and Sudan received no rating.

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