Ireland Performs Strongly in Global Comparison of Foreign Direct Investment Regulation

Author:Mr Peppe Santoro, Dermot McEvoy and Michael Neary
Profession:Eversheds O'Donnell Sweeney

Ireland's economy received a welcome endorsement recently when its status as a leading location for foreign direct investment (FDI) was confirmed by The World Bank in its Investing Across Borders 2010 survey.

Investing Across Borders (IAB) is a new World Bank Group initiative comparing regulation of foreign direct investment around the world. It presents quantitative indicators on economies' laws, regulations, and practices affecting how foreign companies invest across sectors, start businesses, access industrial land, and arbitrate commercial disputes.

Investing Across Sectors

Ireland was noted among high-income OECD countries for restricting foreign ownership of companies to the transportation sector only. This restriction was shared by all high-income OECD countries but only Ireland, the Czech Republic and the Slovak Republic limit restrictions on foreign equity ownership to this one sector.

Starting a Foreign Business

Ireland performed in line with its peer group in terms of the ease with which foreign companies can establish a subsidiary in Ireland. In fact the results may not give full recognition to the ease with which foreign companies can set up in Ireland since it assumes that certain more lengthy incorporation processes (which our experience shows are rarely used in practice by the multi-national business community) will be used.

This gives the Department for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation and the Companies Registration Office the opportunity to further improve Ireland's ranking by making our most efficient incorporation processes the standard procedure for how Irish companies are established.

Accessing Industrial Land

It is encouraging to note that in the only two aspects of this research heading where Ireland scored below the regional average (Access to Land Information and Time to lease private land), significant efforts are already underway to improve the country's performance.

A next generation land registration system has been the subject of intensive effort for a number of years and is now within sight. Last year, the Revenue Commissioners introduced e-stamping (the electronic payment of stamp duty) to speed up the process by which stamp duties can be paid.

Arbitrating Commercial Disputes

Ireland will already have significantly improved its standing as a location for FDI by virtue of the implementation of the Arbitration Act 2010 (which came into law after the research for IAB 2010 was completed). In addition...

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