This year's Index of Economic Freedom published by the US Heritage Foundation research centre and the Wall Street Journal has Armenia as the leading CIS country in terms of economic freedom.
To determine the level of economic freedom in each of the 161 countries involved in the project, economic experts used 50 independent variable factors united in the following elements: foreign trade policy; the tax burden; the level of government intervention in the economy; credit-monetary policy; the banking system; wage structure and property rights.
The authors put Armenia in 44th place, the highest ranked CIS country, adding it to the "mainly free" category. The international economic experts, above all, pointed to the fact that import tariffs were 1.8% on average, while many goods were not subject to quotas or licences. In comparison to 2001, Armenia has managed to lower its tax burden, with the highest taxation bracket standing at 20%.
Belarus received the worst rating for CIS countries from the 2003 Index of Economic Freedom in 151st place.