Finland consistently tops global anti-corruption polls, but when it comes to making fast and transparent decisions related to foreign direct investment, the bureaucratic process is often drawn-out and murky.
That’s why Amcham Finland, on behalf of its members, is proposing that the next government appoint an ombudsman to specifically handle FDI issues.
Foreign subsidiaries account for 20 per cent of Finland’s GDP and generate 15 per cent of private sector jobs. Despite the contribution, Country Managers in the Global Investors’ Program, say their interests could be better represented.
They cite long delays regarding permitting decisions and processes and situations where domestic companies have been unfairly favorited over foreign counterparts. An ombudsman would represent investors’ interests by investigating and addressing complaints of maladministration.
Amcham Finland C.E.O. Kristiina Helenius says signals are important.
“Appointing an ombudsman would say to the world that Finland is serious about attracting and retaining investments. It would also set Finland apart as an investment destination. It would provide a crucial service that none of our near neighbors provide.”
South Korea adopted a similar model more than a decade ago. Since then, the Office of the Foreign Investment Ombudsman has dealt with more than 4,500 complaint cases, preventing them from entering the costly judicial system.
As Amcham Finland’s Policy Director Matthew Wood notes, the OECD says Finland is a country with great potential but weak performance when it comes to attracting foreign investment.
“An Ombudsman for Investor Affairs would help to address this gap and provide greater predictability for business and future investors.”
See how this FDI solution is being covered in the media: Kauppalehti and watch the YLE A-Studio (10.12.2014) Ulkomaiset investoinnit Suomessa special report.