Ireland: Ireland Performs Strongly in Global Comparison of Foreign Direct Investment Regulation

Last Updated: 10 January 2011
Article by Peppe Santoro, Dermot McEvoy and Michael Neary

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, significant efforts have been made by the legal profession to re-position Ireland as a centre for international arbitration. We can expect to see that these efforts will continue to improve Ireland's standing as a country where commercial disputes can be readily solved by arbitration.

Further work can undoubtedly be done to streamline court processes and make use of the latest technologies to reduce the time currently taken to obtain enforcement of arbitration awards, particularly in those cases where all available appeal mechanisms are exercised.

Eversheds O'Donnell Sweeney's Expertise in These Areas

Peppe Santoro co-ordinated the firm's input to the IAB 2010 research process and provided extensive information on Investing Across Sectors and Starting a Foreign Business. He was assisted by specialist litigation partner Dermot McEvoy, who provided information on Arbitrating Commercial Disputes, and senior property associate Michael Neary, who furnished information on Accessing Industrial Land.

Eversheds O'Donnell Sweeney is among just six of Ireland's leading commercial law firms who are acknowledged on the World Bank website as having contributed to IAB 2010. Of those firms, Eversheds is the only firm which is a member of an international firm through its membership of Eversheds International.

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Disclaimer

This information is for guidance purposes only. It does not constitute legal or professional advice. Professional or legal advice should be obtained before taking or refraining from any action as a result of the contents of this publication. No liability is accepted by Eversheds O'Donnell Sweeney for any action taken in reliance on the information contained herein. Any and all information is subject to change. Eversheds O'Donnell Sweeney is not responsible for the contents of any other website or third party material which can be accessed through this website.

Eversheds O'Donnell Sweeney is an Irish partnership and a member firm of the Eversheds International network of firms affiliated with Eversheds International Limited, an English company limited by guarantee. Member firms of Eversheds International are independent firms and members of Eversheds International Limited, but have no authority to obligate or bind Eversheds International Limited or one another vis-ŕ-vis third parties. Neither Eversheds International Limited nor any of its member firms have any liability for each other's acts or omissions.

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