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Sun 24 Jan 2010 08:48 AM

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UAE beats France, Italy in economic freedom index

UAE in 46th place scores higher than Saudi, but has a way to beat Bahrain in 13th.

Economic freedom continued to improve in the UAE last year, according to a new global index which ranked the country 46th - higher than the likes of France and Italy.

The 2010 Index of Economic Freedom published by Washington-based Heritage Foundation and the Wall Street Journal saw the UAE register an increase of 2.6 points to 67.3 over the previous year following a number of reforms initiated by the UAE Government in 2009 to make it easier to do business, Emirates Business reported on Sunday.

The UAE scored higher than France, Italy, Malaysia, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Russia, India and China and was the 14th most improved economy in the 2010 Index. Bahrain came 13th globally, while Hong Kong maintained its top ranking.

"Business formation has become more streamlined, and the overall entrepreneurial environment has been enhanced. The UAE has encouraged the development of a more dynamic private sector by eliminating minimum capital requirements and increasing the efficiency of the regulatory framework," said the survey, cited by the paper.

The UAE banking sector, it said, "has weathered the global financial turmoil with little disruption".

"Financial supervision has been strengthened. Islamic banking is increasingly prominent. Capital markets are relatively well developed and the two stock markets have become more open to foreign investment," the survey added in the Financial Freedom sub-index.

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