Attracting investment to the Baltic Sea Region countries – meeting in Stockholm 25 October
On 25 October, the Baltic Sea Region Investment Promotion Agencies (BSR IPAs) met for the first time as part of the ONE BSR project. The meeting took place in Stockholm’s City Hall and was organized in conjunction with “City Branding” conference led by St. Petersburg city. This BSR IPAs seminar was the first out of six that are planned to take place in the course of the next two years and each of them will cover a different investment promotion related topic.
The Stockholm seminar was a successful and fruitful exchange of views based on shared objectives. Its main purpose was to open a new forum for the IPAs and to discuss the economic environment and legal settings of countries of the BSR in terms of Foreign Direct Investments.
The BSR IPAs meeting was moderated by Baltic Development Forum’s Director, Hans Brask, who introduced the background and framework of the BSR IPA project. A final discussion was preceded by three presentations.
- Analysis of the economic situation in the Region was presented by Swedbank’s Chief economist. Cecilia Hermansson provided insights to the economic conditions by a presentation on Swedbank’s recently published Baltic Sea Report. It was highlighted that the Baltic Sea Region is doing relatively well, all countries managed to recover after the crisis, and the Region as a whole has a lot to offer when presenting itself in overseas markets. Swedbank’s presentation argued that FDI can increase, but there is demand for further economic reforms, not least in the three Baltic States.
- The economic framing of the Region was supplemented with legal expertise from Magnusson Law firm. Partner Anders Bäckman discussed tax related issues and other possible challenges investors may face when directing investments into the BSR. Based on Magnusson’s experience in facilitating these challenges, he argued that in order to prevent failure of Mergers and Acquisitions type of investments, the IPAs can guide investors in the early stages of an investment process and should only then be supplemented by Magnusson’s legal advice. He concluded that abolishing restrictions and following the idea of a single market might enable the FDI to increase.
- A foreign market expert view was also presented by Anne Mathias, Managing Director at Guggenheim Securities. She spoke about investment opportunities in the BSR and discussed fiscal cliff as well as US elections possible impact on the global investment condition.
Next meeting in February in Hamburg – attraction of investments from China as main topic
All next five meetings are planned to cover four main areas: market, sector, investment type, and business development issue. As the second BSR IPAs meeting is planned in
Hamburg in February, it has been agreed that the topic should cover Chinese market, logistics as a sector, R&D as investment type and national/regional, regional/regional IPA cooperation.
Many IPAs of the Region were represented and took an active part in the discussion. Among them: Investment and Development Agency of Latvia, Invest Finland, Invest Poland, Greater Helsinki Promotion, Invest Gdansk, Hamburg, Invest St. Petersburg. Due to their absence, the IPAs of Denmark, Sweden, Estonia, North-West Investment and Development Agency gave their input directly to BDF before the meeting. Other IPAs that were not present at the first meeting have indicated their wish and interest in taking part in the discussion and cooperation among the IPAs of the region.
The ONE BSR project
The BSR IPAs is a sub-project to ONE BSR umbrella project, which is a part-financed EU project for branding and identity building of the Region. The idea behind Investment Promotion Agencies’ initiative is to enable the national and regional actors to communicate better and ultimately pool resources in attracting foreign investment into the Baltic Sea Region.
Baltic Development Forum’s role is to act as a coordinator of the BSR Investment Promotion Agencies meetings and thereby provide a neutral platform for the BSR IPAs to meet and discuss ways of possible cooperation. The main objective is to improve the image of the region as an appealing investment area, increase investments and position the region on a global map.
Formal project partners: Baltic Development Forum, Greater Helsinki Promotion, Invest Gdansk, City of Riga.