The authors noted the move by Taoiseach Bertie Ahern that lowered the corporate tax rate from 16 percent to 12.3 in 2004 as a move that continued to keep the Celtic Tiger growling.
“Ireland has one of the world’s most pro-business environments,” the Wall Street Journal said. “Although accounting for one percent of the euro-zone market, it receives nearly one-third of U.S. investment in Europe.”
Ireland’s standing in the index has shown steady improvement since 1995 and the authors forecasted that the nation would be able to continue to maintain or improve its overall score.
The editors scored Ireland’s government regulations on property rights, capital flows and foreign investment, and banking and finance in the index’s highest category.
“Dublin has attracted a number of foreign banks through its International Financial Services Center, which offers banks a corporate tax rate of 10 percent; the European Commission, however, views the 10 percent corporate tax rate as an aid to industry which is prohibited under European Union regulations.”
Data gathered for the 2004 Index showed a net increase in global economic freedom. For the first time, the United States did not make the top 10; it shared the No. 12 spot with Switzerland because the editors believe that other countries have opened up their markets further than the U.S.
Here are the top ten countries in the “2005 Index of Economic Freedom: 1, Hong Kong; 2, Singapore; 3, Luxembourg; 4, Estonia; 5, Ireland; 6, New Zealand; 7, United Kingdom; 8, Denmark; 9, Iceland; 10, Australia.
According to the editors, Ukraine was Europe’s most improved nation by cutting its taxes, liberalizing prices and accelerating the pace of privatization.