TAIPEI: Taiwan achieved its best ever ranking in the Index of Economic Freedom, climbing three spots to No. 11 out of 180 economies, according to the annual report’s compiler Washington-based think tank The Heritage Foundation. With a score of 76.5 out of 100, up 1.8 points from the 2016 edition, Taiwan was categorized as “mostly free” along with 86 other economies, including the UK at No. 12 and the US at No. 17. In the Asia-Pacific region comprising 43 economies, it came in at No. 5, ahead of South Korea at No. 23 and Japan at No. 40. Hong Kong, Singapore, New Zealand, Switzerland and Australia topped the report in that order, with the five countries the only ones classified as “free.” North Korea, Venezuela and Cuba claimed the bottom three spots in that order with a classification of “repressed.” Of the 12 benchmarks used by the index to assess an economy under the policy areas of government size, open markets, regulatory efficiency and rule of law, Taiwan did particularly well in business freedom, scoring 93.4 and ranking No. 4 in the world. It also outperformed most other economies in government spending, property rights and trade freedom.