Curse or cure – recent variations in treatment of foreign investment
Horacio Bernardes Neto, Xavier Bernardes Bragança, São Paulo
Andrew Frei, Dale & Lessmann LLP, Toronto
Stig Bigaard, Bech-Bruun, Copenhagen
Tania Ghossein, The World Bank Group, Washington
Karen Kao, Kennedy Van der Laan NV, Amsterdam
Manoj Singh, Singh & Associates, New Delhi
Jeffrey Stoler, McCarter & English LLP, Boston
Vladislav Zabrodin, Capital Legal Services, St Petersburg
Businesses expanding beyond their home country, whether it is for the first or the 50th time, face many challenges in a new country, such as different cultures, business practices and laws.
More subtly, a new country may treat foreign businesses differently from local enterprises. Will the expanding foreign business be limited by local laws or practices favouring domestic entities? Must it have a local partner in order to be permitted to start or conduct its business? Or to what extent is there no difference in treatment between domestic and foreign businesses?
Has the recent economic turmoil increased or decreased domestic hurdles faced by foreign businesses?
Our discussion will identify transnational issues and trends.
Co-Chairs warm up on this panel’s topic
Come and participate in an interactive discussion with our panelists about challenges and solutions for businesses investing abroad in the current economic times – where the opportunities and the difficulties are. Also, be among the first to hear about the World Bank's review of foreign investment regulation around the world.
Our panelists will participate in a talk-show format discussion, with audience participation, on a variety of topics surrounding the question of whether countries are becoming more open to foreign investment or tightening the rules in response to economic difficulties or for other reasons. Speakers from various continents – the developed countries, the BRIC countries, and less developed economies – will share their perspectives.
As a special added feature, gain a global perspective from a presentation by the World Bank about the findings of their recently-released first survey of foreign investment regulation in more than 80 countries.
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Foreign investment is a major source of economic activity around the world. Businesses' foreign activities are affected significantly by government policies, different business and cultural approaches and different legal regimes. Are there significant hurdles for businesses wishing to invest abroad, whether relating to culture or regulation, and have these hurdles been increased or reduced in the last few years?
We will consider policy approaches taken by various countries to attract and regulate foreign investment, and then some of the practical structures and challenges for businesses when making foreign investments. What are the benefits and drawbacks of acquiring an existing business, as opposed to partnering with someone else in a joint venture or making a green-field investment? We will also look at issues faced by foreign-owned businesses once they have established themselves in a new country – do they face different rules or treatment in certain areas of legal regulation, such as taxes, litigation, or protection of intellectual property? Are recent government actions, whether in reaction to the crisis or not, temporary or long-lasting?
And of course the role of lawyers in assisting clients to navigate the legal and business challenges of investing abroad, in good times and bad, will be a theme we will discuss.
All of the discussion with our panel members will be an interesting counterpoint to the perspective we will hear from the World Bank. Our special speaker will present the results of the World Bank's first survey of foreign investment regulation around the world, and will also participate in our panel discussion.