AmCham summit addresses foreign investment gap

Domestic businesses investing close to half a trillion more kroner abroad than overseas companies are in Denmark

Denmark continues to receive global praise for its business-friendly environment. Nevertheless, over the last ten years, Danish companies have invested more abroad than foreign companies have in Denmark, leaving Denmark with a ‘FDI gap’ of close to half a trillion kroner.

It is a concern for a country seeking to secure future jobs and growth and it was the main focus of AmCham’s 2012 Foreign Investor Summit at the Foreign Ministry’s Eigtveds Pakhus conference centre last week on Thursday, at which many private and public sector leaders gathered to share their thoughts and concerns regarding the future of foreign investment in this country.

“Denmark is open for business, and we are working intensively on improving the conditions for foreign investors,” keynote speaker Pia Olsen Dyhr, the minister of trade and investment, told those gathered.

Dyhr underscored the government’s commitment to the business community and outlined several new initiatives to support renewed growth, including capital investment tax incentives, improved access to financing for small and medium enterprises, and an energy agreement for investment in sustainable energy.

AmCham executive director Stephen Brugger then took to the stage to present the findings of AmCham’s 2012 Business Barometer. He revealed that although 46 percent of the surveyed foreign companies expect to increase their Danish investments in 2013, 47 percent indicate that they have or are considering moving jobs and investments out of Denmark – citing the high cost of doing business as the main reason.  

Brugger was followed by top economist Joseph Quinlan, who talked about the importance of the transatlantic relationship and encouraged the EU and Denmark to focus on the United States, not the BRIC nations.

Quinlan was followed by Christian Jervelund from Copenhagen Economics, who presented a report commissioned by AmCham’s healthcare committee on the importance of investing in innovative healthcare to get people back to work before it is too late. After 52 weeks on sickness benefit, a person is only 25 percent likely to re-enter the workforce. Jervelund’s study projects a potential annual gain of 3-7 billion kroner for the public budget, if the right investments are made in a timely manner.

And then Brugger concluded with a call to the Danish government to make foreign investments a top “long-term” priority.
“Denmark has tremendous potential to meet the challenges ahead. However, given its market size, ‘average’ is not good enough,” he said, referring to the country’s recent fall out of the top 10 of the World Economic Forum’s Competitiveness Index.

“Denmark has to be the best.

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