OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) has published a report examining Finland’s foreign direct investment (FDI) trends and how Finland's regulatory landscape may affect its ability to attract foreign investments. The report compares FDI in Finland to other Nordic and Baltic economies and benchmarks Finland’s regulatory environment and broader investment climate against those of its neighbors.
According to the report, Finland’s economic and political stability, high quality of life, well-functioning institutions and transparent regulation have long been seen as important factors attracting foreign investment. Finland's solid research base, highly qualified labor force and strong culture of cooperation have brought numerous foreign firms to the country. The empirical evidence shown in the OECD report underlines the importance of FDI in supporting the country’s economic growth and job creation. The report also highlights how Finland’s relatively open business climate creates a favorable environment for foreign-owned firms, while identifying a number of areas where Finland might be underperforming in terms of attracting FDI.
In line with other recent studies and surveys, the results of OECD's business consultations show that access to technology and knowledge as well as a pool of skilled labor are important factors that attract FDI into Finland. Access to the Finnish or neighboring markets was also a significant motivator in many investment decisions. OECD's findings indicate that foreign investors have a positive view of several important aspects of the Finnish business environment. In general, interactions with public authorities were perceived as relatively smooth.
The businesses consulted by OECD had not experienced significant regulatory obstacles related to setting up operations in Finland. Processing times for registering a company in Finland were not viewed as an obstacle by foreign investors, but it was noted that without knowledge of the local language, the help of a local expert was necessary to assist in the process of setting up a branch of a foreign company in Finland. Some businesses saw potential in introducing a one-stop-shop for companies contemplating entering the Finnish market and registering a company in Finland.
OECD identified several factors that could improve Finland’s overall business climate and support efforts to attract and retain more FDI: fostering technology excellence, addressing skill shortages by facilitating foreign talent mobility, promoting the smooth arrival and integration of foreign talent, improving the flexibility of the labor market, further increasing regulatory transparency, and streamlining entry into the Finnish market (according to OECD, addressing certain aspects of investment screening, company registration and investment-related permit processes would facilitate market entry by foreign investors).